Monday, February 18, 2013


Two words: Comfort food. I don't know about you, but my comfort foods don't tend to make the good-for-you list. Among not-so-good-for-you Italian and Mexican foods, this soup stands out as an exception to the rule. It's not heavy, but it sure is hearty. Plus, it can easily be vegetarian. And it's delicious and warming, just like comfort food should be.

This recipe came about mostly by accident. You know those recipe clippings we've all got tucked away in the back of our cookbooks with intentions to try them some day (even though they've been in there a while...)? Well I've had one for spinach and white bean soup, and it made its way onto my meal plan this week. Then as I started out to make it, I ended up ditching the recipe clipping and making the soup my own. I was so happy with the way it turned out!

My ingredient of the month is going to be barley, I can tell. I cooked it for the first time this week. Yes, the first time ever! We just never ate it when I was growing up, so I never really cooked with it. Now I love it. It's going in everything.

Two-Bean Spinach Soup 

1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil for sautéing
32 oz. vegetable stock OR chicken broth
16 oz. bag frozen spinach
1 can pinto beans, mostly drained (not rinsed)
1 can black beans, mostly drained (not rinsed)
5 - 6 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cups cooked pearled barley
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tb. dried fennel seeds
2 tb. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. cayenne pepper

In a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until tender. Add stock (or broth), spinach, beans, and potatoes. Bring to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are just tender. Stir in barley and season to taste. Simmer about 10 more minutes.