Barley and Vegetable Soup

As many of you know, beisdes being a bonafide health and fitness freak and author, I am also a trucker who runs a very busy schedule of delivering industrial and construction supplies to my employers stores. This is job is mentally and physically demanding as I work sixty plus hours every week, no matter how nice or poor the weather. Now that we are into fall, the nights and days are cooling and there is nothing better than a cup of hot soup to warm the belly and soul while on the road. The best kinds of soup for a trucker like myself to have on the road are not only hearty, but they also need to supply my body with all the necessary nutrients to keep me healthy and must also be low on the Glycemic Index in order to keep my blood sgar and insulin levels in healthy ranges. This is especially true during those early morning hours at the crack of dawn when the body’s circadium rythems are telling you that you should be nestled in a warm bed at home rather than piloting an 80,000 pound big rig down the nations highways. As a professional trucker, it is of upmost importance that I take proper care of my health through diet and exercise, therefore, I always make it a point to only pack whole foods which are low on the Glycemic Index in my road cooler. I preplan, measure and package all that I require to get me through the week so there is never a need or desire to stop and fill up on tasty treats from truck stops.

One of the oldest cultivated cereals, barley ranks high in nutrients and soluble fiber. This lowers its GI level and reduces the post-meal rise in blood glucose. Add to that, it’s light, nutty flavor and al-dente texture, and you have a winning base for many meals.

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (beef broth is pretty awesome too)
  • 1 can (14 oz) toatoes
  • 1/2 cup pearly barley
  • 2 small carrots, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomoato paste
  • 2/3 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup mixed herbs, such as parsley, basil and oregano, coarsely chopped
  • fresh ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over low heat. Add the onion and cook, covered, until the onion is soft. Add the broth, tomatoes, barley, carrots and tomato paste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Add the peas and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the spinach and herbs and continue simmering until the spinach has wilted.

3. Season to taste with salt and pepper. An option I like too is to add dried red pepper flakes for heat or a liberal dose of hot sauce.

Serves 4 people and provides: 170 calories, 27g carbohydrates, 6g protein, 3g fat an 8g fiber

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