White Bean & Basil Soup:
56 oz organic, low sodium, vegetable broth
30 oz organic, white northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup organic barley
1 organic medium yellow onion, chopped
3 organic garlic cloves, minced
1-2 cups of organic deseeded and chopped plum tomatoes
1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped organic fresh basil
1 1/2 tablespoons organic Italian seasoning
Ground organic black pepper to taste
First, set the barely to cook by adding it to a pan with 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium, cover, and let simmer for 35-40 minutes. I like to set a timer and check it around 30 minutes to make sure there is still enough moisture and none is sticking to the bottom of the pan. At this time I also usually reduce heat to medium-low for the remaining 5-10 minutes.
While barley is cooking, heat a large soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the olive oil is briefly heated, sauté the onions and garlic together for about 5 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften. Do not allow them, or the garlic, to brown, but do enjoy the beautiful aroma this will make in your kitchen!
While the onions and garlic are sautéing, it's time to chop your tomatoes. Make sure to remove all liquid and seeds. While the tomatoes cook in the soup, the skin will separate, and, if you're like me, and don't enjoy that in the soup, you can pick up 2 large cans of organic whole peeled tomatoes instead. If you do, open the can and strain out all of the liquid first, then gently chop each tomato until you're left with what you need!
Once the onions and garlic have softened, add in the vegetable broth, Italian seasoning, and ground pepper. If you've chopped fresh tomatoes, add those in as well, but if you've used the canned tomatoes, hold onto them a little longer! Either way, bring ingredients to a low boil for about 5-10 minutes.
While those ingredients are getting to know one another, it's time to chop your basil and check on your barley. Once the barley is softened, strain out any extra water and set aside with your basil and northern beans.
Finally, add your last ingredients (chopped basil, northern beans, and barley and possibly the chopped canned tomatoes) to your soup and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Then enjoy!!
Healthy Life Tip: When making soup, always try and make extra! Soup is great after a night in the fridge and even freezer! Save some to take for lunch the next day, or later in the week! Or freeze some for a quick dinner when you may be running late or don't have anything prepared!