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Bean & Barley Soup
“This hearty bean and barley soup tastes like it has simmered for hours, but actually it's quite quick to throw together. Plus this recipe for healthy bean and barley soup freezes beautifully. If you have cooked barley on hand, omit the quick-cooking barley and stir in 1½ cups cooked barley along with the broth in Step 2.”
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium fennel bulb, cored and chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini or other white beans, rinsed
1 14-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
¾ cup quick-cooking barley
1 (5 ounce) package baby spinach (6 cups)
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
1Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, fennel, garlic, and basil; cook, stirring frequently, until tender and just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes.
2Mash ½ cup of the beans. Stir the mashed and whole beans, tomatoes, broth and barley into the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in cheese and pepper.
To make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.