A Soup for All Seasons: Roasted Tomato, Barley and White Bean


Roasted Tomato, Barley and White Bean Soup (recipe after the jump)


It’s that time of year.  Over night, the weather turned from hot and sunny to cool and rainy. I promise you, this is a wonderful soup for a day like today–I know because I’m eating some while I write this post! Fire roasted tomatoes provide sweetness, mushrooms a savoriness, barley adds texture in the foreground and creaminess in the background, and the beans lend hearty protein. Use hulled barley (the equivalent of brown rice) if you can find it, because more of the grain is intact than is the case with pearled barley. Add something green and tender, chopped parsley or arugula or watercess, at the very end. Don’t be upset if a few black flecks show up in the soup, these come with the authentically fire roasted tomatoes. And keep in mind, if this soup sits very long, you will probably need to thin it, because barley seems to have an almost limitless capacity to absorb liquids. Recipe after the jump…



1/2 cup hulled barley cooked in 4 cups water for about 50 minutes (most of the water will cook away)

4 ounces crimini or button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

2 medium carrots, trimmed and diced

2 stalks celery, diced

5-6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 cups diced fire roasted tomatoes (1 15-ounce can)

4 cups vegetable stock or water

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

2 cups cooked white beans, (or beans of choice–I used white kidney beans)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon mirin (optional)

2 tablespoons light miso

salt, pepper, lemon juice, umeboshi vinegar, to taste

1 cup chopped arugula or watercress, or 1/2 cup chopped parsley

1. Cook the barley and set aside.

2. Heat a little bit of oil in a roomy, thick-bottomed soup pot, add the mushrooms and onions and sauté on medium-high heat 3-4 minutes.  Add the carrots, celery and garlic and sauté another 3-4 minutes.

3.  Add the tomatoes, nutritional yeast and 4 cups water or vegetable stock and bring just to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer half an hour or until the vegetables are fully tender.

4. Add the beans and barley and simmer 4-5 minutes.

5. Season with soy sauce, mirin and miso. Taste and add a few cracks of black pepper if you wish.  Fine tune the seasoning with salt, lemon juice and umeboshi vinagar as needed. Just before serving, stir in the arugula or parsley, reserving a tablespoon for the garnish. Yields six generous servings.


5 responses

    • Sorry about that. I’ve amended the recipe. Add the barley along with the beans in step four. Hope your soup turns out well. (With soups like this you have to use your common sense about how much water to add, because both beans and barley can soak up a lot of water!). Thanks for catching my oversight, Gary

      • Turned out great! Did a little changes because of a few ingredients I didnt have. We loved it…I blogged about it here-http://wannabechefmysti.blogspot.com/2011/01/roasted-tomato-white-bean-and-barley.html

  1. I am not a blogging chef, but I made this and it was delicious! This soup is so full of various textures, like you said, that it has a satisfying chew. It is dinner party-worthy!

  2. I made this the other day and it was AMAZING! I had to use pearl barley as that’s what I could find. And what really gave it an extra zing is that the only tomatoes in our cupboard were fire roasted tomatoes with chipotle peppers. They gave it a little heat without overwhelming it with spice. We will definitely be making this again (and again!) Thank you so much for this recipe!

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