Tuscan Bean and Barley Soup

by | Nutrition, Peacock and Paisley, Recipes

Great, healthy Fall soup recipe.

Cook in a slow-cooker or crock pot, or regular stove-top. Takes about 8 hours in a crockpot, about 2 stovetop.  Feels more like a vegetarian stew than a soup – it’s nice and thick.  Very low in fat.


  • 1 cup dried great Northern beans, picked over and rinsed
  • 6 cups water, or vegetable, chicken or beef broth
  • 1 can (14 ounces) whole tomatoes, with juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
  • 2 ribs of celery, chopped, include those leafy tops for yummy flavor
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and chopped (totally optional, I leave it out)
  • 1/2 cup pearled barley, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian herb blend, or fresh herbs of your choice like thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil, etc.
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces of baby spinach leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I leave this out, too)
  • olive oil, to drizzle on top when serving


  • Combine beans, broth/water, tomatoes, garlic, celery, carrots, onion, fennel (if desired), barley, bay leaf, and ground pepper in soup pot or crock pot.
  • Cover and cook on low until the beans are tender and the soup is thick, about 2 hours on the stove or 8 in the crockpot.
  • Stir in the spinach, salt, and vinegar, then cover and cook until the spinach wilts, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove the bay leaf, then taste and add more salt and pepper, if necessary.
  • Ladle soup into warmed bowls, sprinkle cheese on top if desired, and drizzle with olive oil.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Serves 4.
Credit: Meredith Deeds, Plano, TX
Peacock & Paisley Blog

1 Comment

  1. Terie

    Yum, this sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing. I think I’ll be adding this one to my fall soups recipe list. I love trying new soups in the fall.

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