Quick Vegetable Barley Soup
Serve with bread sticks

Serves 8 - 1 cup servings

7 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 rosemary sprigs (about 3.5 inches long)
1- 19 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley
4 ounces fresh spinach leaves roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 15 minutes. Drain through a sieve into a large bowl; discard solids. Now you have a flavorful broth.

Measure 1 cup beans, and mash with a fork in a small bowl. (This will thicken your soup) Reserve the remaining whole beans.
Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add onions, carrot, and celery; cook 4 minutes. Add broth mixture, mashed beans, whole beans, tomatoes, and barley; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes. Stir in spinach and black pepper; cook 5 minutes or until barley is tender. Sprinkle each serving with cheese.

Per Serving (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese): 252 Calories; 4g Fat (12.5% calories from fat); 1g Saturated Fat; 20g Protein; 37g Carbohydrate; 10g Dietary Fiber; 4mg Cholesterol; 976mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 1/2 Fat.


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