October 9, 2013

Mushroom Barley Soup

Kale. My unexpected nemesis. In my first trimester of pregnancy a couple years ago, I made a kale lasagna. I mean a BIG kale lasagna. For just me and my husband, which meant lots of leftovers. As it was cooking in the oven, something didn't seem quite right. It was confirmed as I took the first bite - kale was my one single food aversion during pregnancy. Not wanting to waste the huge pan of food, I kept telling my husband to eat the leftovers throughout the week. But my aversion was so strong, I couldn't stand the smell of him heating up leftovers so I'd open the window and stand with my nose pressed against the screen, breathing in the crisp, December air until he was finished eating and no trace of the smell was left. It seemed kale and I were OVER.

Jumping back to present day, I planned on using spinach for this soup (which definitely works if you want to use that) but found myself surprisingly ready to make amends with kale. I figured pairing it with a couple of my favorites, mushroom and barley, would give it a good shot. Much to my surprise, it worked! I can happily say kale and I are (mostly) back on speaking terms now 😉

Just a couple notes: I use quick-cooking barley to save time, but you can use regular barley if you wish and either extend the cooking time, or cook it separately and add it to the pot when it's cooked. Feel free to change up the herbs and additional veggies!

Vegan, gluten-free (if you replace barley with quinoa or rice)

1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
2 carrots
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced
1 cup quick-cooking barley
2 cups kale or spinach
4 cups vegetable broth (+4 cups water)
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. thyme
Salt/pepper to taste

Other possible add-ins: celery, rutabaga, parsnips, turnips, zucchini, winter squash, etc.

Dice onion and carrot, mince garlic, and roughly chop kale/spinach.
In a large stockpot over med-high heat, saute onion, mushroom, and carrot with salt for 7-8 minutes.
Add garlic, kale/spinach, basil, oregano, and thyme. Saute 1-2 minutes.
Add white wine vinegar, then broth and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil.
Add barley, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until barley is cooked.
Adjust seasonings as necessary.

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  1. Oh my goodness, I'm drooling over here! Luckily I've never had a kale aversion, and it's one of my favorite greens, so you can bet this is going on my to-make list ASAP!

    1. Enjoy Alexa!! The kale added great texture (and of course a nutrient boost)! :) Even my husband loved it!

  2. Is this the first post in the new house?!?

    1. Yes! Woohoo!!! In LOVE with my new kitchen :D

  3. this looks so warm, hardy, and comforting!

  4. This looks very nutritious , specially for young kids. They are really open to such warm semi solid recipes.