Missed the tasting of this delicious soup from local chef Theresa Joseph? Make your own at home!

Barley is a potent source of B vitamins, folic acid, selenium, and Vitamin E, has a low glycemic index; its fiber helps reduce cholesterol and it makes us feel pleasantly full without loading on the calories. The cooked barley has a pasta-like consistency that really satisfies.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
4 stalks of celery, minced
2 cups crimini or button mushrooms, sliced
1 ½ cups uncooked pearl barley
4 quarts water or vegetable stock
handful mixed sea vegetables or crumbled dried kombu
2 teaspoon dried thyme (good anti-microbial!)
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 medium parsnip (or rutabaga or daikon), chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups seasonal greens, chopped (kale, turnip greens, Swiss chard, broccoli rabe, mustard greens, or spinach)
2 cups cooked chickpeas or other beans (or 1 can)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice and dash of cayenne pepper per serving, optional
fresh herbs for garnish


Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed soup pot and add onion, garlic, mushrooms, and celery.. Saute, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes, until softened. Add pearl barley, stirring to coat with oil, and cook for 2 minutes.

Add water or stock, sea vegetables, thyme, and rosemary. Increase heat to bring soup to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and cook 1 hour, or until barley is tender.

Add parsnip, carrots and sweet potatoes, and continue cooking about 30 minutes, until vegetables have softened. Add greens and cook until wilted and tender, about 5 to 10 more minutes. Use a potato masher to gently crush the potatoes.

Stir in cooked chickpeas.

Add sea salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle soup into bowls, adding lemon juice and cayenne pepper (if desired) to each serving, and top with fresh herbs.