One of my best-loved comfort foods is homemade soup, and vegetable beef barley is one of my favorites.
As I almost always do with home-cooked meals, I’ve tweaked the traditional recipe to make it healthier. I leave out the teaspoon or so of salt the recipe usually calls for, use reduced-sodium broth and no-added-salt tomatoes, and substitute a bit more spice to retain flavor. I also cut the amount of meat in half to lower both the calorie count and the cholesterol/saturated fat levels and double the veggies. The result is nutritious as well as delicious.
The soup is super easy to make. As a bonus, it freezes well, and therefore lends itself to batch cooking. This recipe makes approximately 10 one-cup servings.
- 1 pound lean beef, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 32-ounce carton reduced-sodium beef broth
- 3-4 cups water
- 28-ounce can no-added-salt diced tomatoes
- 6 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 6 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup barley
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2-3 small bay leaves
Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 1½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat, barley and vegetables are tender. If the soup begins to get too thick, add a cup or two of water.
Serving size: 1 cup | Calories: 168 | Carbohydrates: 17 g | Protein: 12 g | Fat: 5 g | Saturated fat: 2 g | Cholesterol: 31 mg | Sodium: 244 mg | Potassium: 477 mg | Fiber: 3 g | Sugar: 5 g | Vitamin A: 128% | Vitamin C: 24% | Calcium: 3% | Iron: 6%