Friday, September 18, 2009

Hearty Grain Soup With Beans and Greens

This is my all-time favorite soup to make. It takes very little time and is so healthy and wholesome. It is a great winter soup that will warm your heart on a chilly day. Even in 80 degree weather, this soup proves to be a winner with its mixture of color and fresh flavor combination!

You can use any grain that you have on-hand: barley, brown rice, quinoa, kasha...Same goes for the beans--I prefer kidney beans but you can use a mixture of kidney, black, garbanzo, white beans...

I have made this soup at least 6-10 times and it never disappoints. One time, I accidentally used 3 times the amount of rice and rather than cry/freak out/kick and scream (which I did a bit of at first), I transformed the soup into risotto! Brilliant, just brilliant!

Paired with some rustic crusty bread, this is a perfect vegetarian meal: you've got your grain, protein, and veggies!

Now go and make this soup for your family, your friends, your lover, or just yourself...go know you want to...

Hearty Grain Soup with Beans and Greens

Adapted from Vegetarian Times Magazine
Time: 30 mintues
Serves 6-8


  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked barley (or brown rice, quinoa, kasha, wheatberries...)
  • 1 15-oz. can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 lb. kale, trimmed and chopped (I just rip the leaves off the stems into bite sized pieces)
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 to 3 tsp. balsamic vinegar (this is KEY!)
  • Optional: freshly grated cheese such as Parmesan, Grana...


  1. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook 3 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, and cook 5 minutes more, or until onion is lightly browned.
  2. Stir in broth, kasha, tomatoes, 1 cup beans, oregano and rosemary. Bring to a boil. Press half of kale into liquid with wooden spoon until it wilts. Press remaining kale into liquid. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until kale is tender.
  3. Purée remaining beans in food processor (**this helps to thicken the soup and give it a nice texture). Add puréed beans, parsley and remaining 1 Tbs. oil to soup. Stir in vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Ladle into bowls, and serve.

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