Photo: Karry Hosford
8 servings (serving size: about 1 cup soup and 1 tablespoon cheese)

This satisfying bean and barley soup features a delicious and iron-packed combination of red kidney beans and spinach. It's also high in fiber and calcium.

How to Make It

Step 1

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.

Step 2

Measure 1 cup beans, and mash with a fork in a small bowl. Reserve the remaining whole beans.

Step 3

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.

Chef's Notes

To ensure rich flavor, add garlic and herbs to canned broth for a homemade taste. Mashing a portion of the beans gives the soup extra body.

Ratings & Reviews

LaraRR's Review

January 14, 2011
This soup is very good. Very filling. I like the texture of the barley. Have made twice and will make again.

Laurenshana's Review

April 08, 2010
Wow - this soup is delicious. Used a cuisinarte for the vegetables, powdered garlic, and omitted the tomatoes and spinach (we were out). Also used dried rosemary and fresh mixed beans from the farmers market. Excellent recipe and my 3-year old ate 2 bowls at one sitting.

KitchenCat's Review

April 11, 2012
This soup is SO good. I used pearl barley and followed previous advice to cook for 45 mins instead of 15. I also used 8 cups of broth instead of 7 and added a little more when reheated the next day. I also love that this is so healthy. This is a go-to cold weather recipe.

LauraB08's Review

November 02, 2014
This soup gets huge points for being so tasty AND healthy. I leave out the celery and don't see the point of mashing the beans, but otherwise I make it exactly, and it's fantastic. I'll probably leave the solids next time, though.

veryslowcook's Review

May 06, 2009
Easy, hearty, and tasty! I made small modifications: used 2 bay leaves instead of rosemary, omitted celery, and did not strain the solids from the broth (but I did remove the bay leaves!). Served with a side of broccoli and asiago toasts. We'll definitely make this again.

Rizzle's Review

February 27, 2012
This soup is hearty indeed. A five star restaurant could easily be serve this wonderful pot of deliciousness. It's flavorful, meaty from the beans and barley and of course healthy! I didn't even have to use salt and I love salt. The food processor saved me some time from chopping the onion, carrot and celery. I was also too lazy to strain the garlic, rosemary and red pepper. Still turned out fab! Being vegan I used vegetable stock instead of chicken and didn't top with Parmesan cheese.

MKline's Review

November 11, 2008
I make this exactly as written and it is one of our all-time faves. The next day we often add more broth as the barley continues to soak it up but is a great recipe!

stimply's Review

November 22, 2009
Made this yesterday and am enjoying it today. Very filling. I also cooked the barley some on its own before adding the tomatoes and beans. Boiling the stock with seasonings added a nice flavor; more flavor than what you get out of flavored stocks. Lends itself to simple modifications like different beans or adding shredded chicken.

nameofcook's Review

January 21, 2013
This was a hit with the whole family (including 6 and 8 year old). I added an extra cup of broth as others suggested. Great soup to warm us all up and the kids didn't complain at all about eating their veggies! :) I served with beer bread and orange wedges.

KeepontryingM's Review

November 09, 2013
I didn't find that this had much flavor. But it was very hearty and filling.