Get ready….. get set….. go! Soup season is here and have I got something delicious in store for you. This is Winter’s best vegetable soup recipe and it will fill the house with a warm cozy feeling of protection from the cold outdoors.
Here in Italy, we call this soup Zuppa con Orzo, Farro e Legumi. Everything sounds so exotic in Italian, doesn’t it? Barley, Spelt and Legume Soup is one of my absolute favorites! Orzo is barley, farro is spelt and the obvious legumi is legumes. I love barley. It can be used in so many different types of dishes. It is a filling type of food that reduces hunger and keeps you satisfied. Eating barley as part of a meal balanced with colorful vegetables is great.
Barley is also high in protein and other nutrients like potassium and magnesium. It’s low in fat, will fill you with energy and give you a good amount of fiber. It’s a perfect addition to many soups.
Next in the soup, we have spelt, spelt is a type of wheat, known for it’s quality of being easy to digest. Also high in potassium and fiber, spelt also adds a good amount of iron to your daily needs. Finally, we have legumes.
Mix It Up A Bit
For soups, I love a mix such as black eyed peas, split peas and fava beans. I also add a variety of red and green lentils. Did you know that there are different kinds of green lentils? They are name according to their size. The large ones are called Laird lentils. The small ones that you see most Often are Eston lentils, There are a few varieties of the mid-size ones.
There is so much to know about these incredible food staples that have been cultivated for millenia. We live in an amazing world.
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A Well-Stocked Pantry Makes It Easy
Now let’s get to the soup! I love to keep my pantry stocked with mason jars filled with a variety of cereal grains and legumes. That way, I always have something on hand as a side dish or a soup, There are also many pre-mixed packages of cereal grains and legumes that you can find in most supermarkets.
Whether you choose to make your own mix, or use one that is packaged, the magic quantity to remember is 1/4 cup (55 grams) per person. It may seem like a small amount, but many cereal grains more than double in size once they are cooked. Plus, we’ll be adding some colorful and delicious fresh vegetables as well.
It’s All in the Family
Now, we’ve all noticed that fresh vegetables can greatly differ in taste, one from the other. For this reason, the amount of seasonings you add will depend on the vegetable and on your family’s personal taste.
Speaking of family, my mother always told me that soup is better the second day. For that reason (and many more), don’t hesitate to make some extra. Soups stored in an air-tight container will keep well in the refridgerator for a few days, although they likely will get devoured sooner. That way, your lunch for the next day will already be made.
Or, you’ll have something nice and warm to offer an unexpected guest or someone with sudden hunger pangs. Here’s some helpful kitchen tips: I often freeze soups into individual servings, which makes it easier to heat up the exact amount you need. And, by storing portions in ziploc freezer bags, they can be laid flat, taking up less of your precious freezer space. You’ll be able to have Winter’s best vegetable soup any time you like.
From Meal Planning to Gift Ideas
A mug of soup is a great healthy idea to replace unhealthy snacks. There are so many good reasons to make soups part of your Winter meal plans. They even make great gifts. Put all the dry ingedients together in a mason jar. Write the cooking instructions on a little tag. You can tie the tag around the jar with some raffia, yarn or a ribbon. This is sure to bring some joy to a friend or neighbor.
Winter’s Best Vegetable Soup
- 1 cup Barley, Spelt, Legumes such as red and green lentils, black-eyed peas, split peas, fava beans
- 2 or 3 Carrots
- 1 Onion
- 2 or 3 ribs Celery
- Salt (to taste)
- Black Pepper (to taste)
- 1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Measure out your dry cereal grains 1/4 cup per person
- Rinse very well until the water runs clear.
- Place grains and legumes in a pot and fill with enough water to be 2 inches above the grains.
- Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Peel and cut carrots, onion and celery.
- Add the fresh vegetables to the soup.
- Season to taste with salt, black pepper and extra virgin olive oil.
- Cook for approximately 30 minutes.
What foods conjure up those memories from when you were younger? What’s your favorite kind of soup? I look forward to reading your comments below about this Winter’s Best Vegetable Soup!