Vegetarian Barley Soup
½ cup chopped onions
¼ cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh, flat-leaf parsley
½ teaspoon chopped garlic
3 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 ½ cups low-sodium canned, diced tomatoes, with liquid
½ cup peeled, sliced carrots
¼ cup pearl barley
¼ teaspoon salt
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups chopped mushrooms
1 can low-sodium navy beans, rinsed
1. Coat the bottom of a large dutch oven or pot with cooking spray and place over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onions, celery, parsley, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes.
2. Add the broth, tomatoes, carrots, barley, beans, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and bay leaf and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in the mushrooms and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Remove and discard bay leaf. Ladle soup into bowls.
Boosting the Nutritional Value of Your Soup
In addition to pumpkin-spice flavored everything, kitchens across the U.S. have begun cooking their favorite fall soup recipes. With temperatures dropping and leaves changing, a warm soup is a perfect companion to a cool fall day. Soups are an excellent source of nutrition and, with the right ingredients, can be very filling. Want to step up your game this fall? We’ll share how to take your soup recipe to the next level without sacrificing flavor.
One of the best ways to add beneficial nutrients to your soup is to include a variety of fiber sources from different vegetables, grains, and beans. . Fiber is a kind of carbohydrate that aids your digestive system. Dietary fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet. It can decrease your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and also can aid in weight loss. Beans, lentils, and barley are both excellent sources of fiber and can make great additions to any soup. Brown rice, a common ingredient in many soup recipes, can be substituted for barley, a soluble source of fiber.
When eating a soup dish as a meal, it’s important to remember that you still need a balanced plate¬—or bowl, in this case. If you’re looking to make soup as a main dish, you’ll need a lean source of protein like beef, chicken, or beans. Soups with few ingredients like tomato, squash, or potato soups are good options for sides, but you’ll need additional nutrients to make a balanced meal. Creamy, single-ingredient soups taste wonderful, but they aren’t as filling as other soups so you might end up eating more than you would of a different soup. Try pairing soups like these with a sandwich or salad to make your meal more filling and add some vegetables and protein.
Soup by itself isn’t healthy or unhealthy, but you might want to keep track of the salt content of your soups. Try using low-sodium broths or a low-sodium tomato paste. If you’re using canned beans or corn, try rinsing them off before adding them to the pot. Sodium isn’t inherently unhealthy, but a high-sodium diet can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. The good news is there are tons of low-sodium products on the market that will add flavor to your soup without the added risk of heart disease.
“There are ways to be very creative with stews and soups,” said Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, Gale Pearson of TPMG Nutrition Services in Newport News.
Don’t have time to make a healthy soup from home? There are plenty of healthy soup options for sale at your local grocery store. Look out for low sodium labels and make sure you’re receiving enough protein and other valuable nutrients, especially if you’re eating the soup by itself. Soups are incredibly versatile and great for many people to pack nutrition into their diet. Try making vegetarian, barley soup this fall!
Want more help planning healthy meals this fall? Talk to a dietician with TPMG Nutrition Services today to learn more.
About Gale Pearson, MS, RDN, CDCES
Gale Pearson, MS, RDN, CDCES is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with over 25 years of experience working with patients on dietary and nutrition wellness planning. Gale received her undergraduate degree from Hampton University and her Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Howard University.
With extensive experience in nutrition counseling, Gale works with her patients to develop strategies to improve their eating habits and lifestyles, in turn helping them to manage their weight and medical conditions. She credits witnessing her patients’ symptoms and overall health improvement as a result of the lifestyle changes as one of the most gratifying and rewarding aspects of her career.
At TPMG Nutrition Services in Newport News and Williamsburg, Gale provides one-on-one consultations, nutrition and weight management counseling, and diabetes education.