Recipes in health magazines are a mixed bag. Some taste great but only save calories and fat by having pathetically small serving sizes. Others include unusual and often ill-advised substitutions for the less-healthy ingredients in recipes. And there are a whole lot of skimpy versions of beloved favorites, like pizzas with just a sprinkling of cheese. The ones that work the best, in my mind, are the recipes that just embrace their healthiness and advertise it up front, realizing that nutritious ingredients can taste great without being disguised. This carrot, chick pea, and barley soup from Shape‘s March 2007 issue fits solidly into the last category. With not a lick of oil or butter and only an optional sprinkling of parmesan, this soup manages to be a sweet and filling main course. With less than 150 calories in a cup, this soup is a winner.
I’ve never been a cooked carrot lover and yet I really liked this soup. The chewiness of the barley and the soft sweetness of the carrots worked really nicely together. Plus the bright orange color contrasted with the parsley garnish gave it additional visual appeal. This soup could easily be made vegan simply by omitting the parmesan topping and using vegetable stock instead of chicken broth. Shape also suggests that to make it even heartier, you can add a 1/2 cup of a small pasta shape to each bowl before serving. We didn’t find that necessary, but then again, we had also had a little toasted bread, fresh mozzerella, and fried sage appetizer (yum!) If you find the flavor needs a little kick, you can give it a healthy dose of freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkling of salt or you can take a tip from Glenna of A Fridge Full of Food (who entered the recipe into A Veggie Venture’s Soup’s On challenge) and add a teaspoon of curry for a little more bite.
Shape’s Carrot, chick pea, and barley soup (serves 3-4)
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup carrot juice
1/4 cup barley, rinsed and drained
1 cup canned chick peas, rinsed and drained
2 cups diced carrots
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
1. In a medium saucepan, combine broth, carrot juice, barley, and chickpeas. Bring to boil over a high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add carrots and return to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low, cover, and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.
2. Using a slotted spoon, remove 1 1/2 cups of solids and place in a medium bowl. Mash with a fork (or use an immersion blender, pulsing for 3 seconds). Return mashed vegetables to saucepan. Stir in vinegar, parsley, and pepper. Serve topped with grated parmesan.