I find it interesting that previous reviews thought this soup was bland. I made it exactly according to the recipe and thought it was great! I made 12 gift jars of the soup mix and paired them with beer bread mixes - which I also made - and had 12 Christmas gifts for very little money.
Southwestern Three-Bean & Barley Soup
From EatingWell: November/December 2010
Serve this zesty bean and barley soup garnished with chopped fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime, if desired.
29 Reviews for Southwestern Three-Bean & Barley Soup
Been trying to cook for pre-diabetic health, to lower my cholesterol, and to lose weight, and I wanted to find some more recipes with barley. Followed this recipe exactly except that I used black beans, pinto beans, and black eyed peas because that's what I had on hand. When it was done, it was really bland so I started tweaking it. The other reviewer was right - double the spices. (Also right about needing to keep adding liquids throughout cooking time.) I also added red pepper flakes for a bit of kick. After that, it was very tasty. Then I decided to add some cooked chicken chicken breast (boneless, skinless) to make a complete meal out of it. Served it with cornbread, and my husband said "this soup is FINE!" which is his way of saying it was really good. Great cold weather meal.
I wonder about the slow cooker version of this recipe - it indicates to use 2 cups of water instead of 9 cups. Can this be incorrect? It doesn't seem like nearly enough water to soften the beans.
I made this last weekend. It was ridiculously easy...takes a long time to simmer on the stove, but just requires a stir every now and then. The long cooking time allows you to use dried beans, which are healthy and inexpensive.
The final result was creamy, but lacking in flavor. I would probably double all the spices next time, it was that bland, and I rarely feel the need to make something more spicy. This time around, I added salt and pepper and a dollop of sour cream with each bowl. I omitted the cilantro and squeeze of lime that are recommended, so that might have helped, too.
All in all, I recommend this. I'm going to make another pot this weekend because we've already gone through most of it. Oh, yeah, one other note...unless you keep adding water and/or broth as the recipe says, this will likely cook down to less than the number of servings stated here.