Saturday, September 1, 2012

Italian Bean and Barley Soup

Italian Bean and Barley Soup

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 green pepper, diced
3/4 cup pearl barley, rinsed
5 cups vegetable stock
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained (I use tomatoes from the garden)
1 (8-ounce) can tomateo sauce
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 Bay leaf
1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2/3 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion, garlic, celery, carrots and green pepper and cook, stirring frequently until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.  Scrape the mixture into the slow cooker.

Add barley, stock, beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, parsley, Italian seasoning, and bay leaf into the slow cooker, stir well.

Cook soup on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, until vegetables are tender.  Turn cooker to high, stir in spinach and parmesan cheese, cook for another 30 minutes or so.  Season with salt and pepper, and discard bay leaf.

Serves 6.