Green Vegetable Soup with Pearl Barley

You may have noticed I’ve got a bit of a thing about soup at the moment. So simple and healthy and can be made from almost anything. This one came about one Saturday morning when I scoured the vegetable tray at the bottom of the fridge looking for something to feed five hungry people. Surprisingly good, so good in fact that my son ate three bowls of it. I served it with a warm homemade foccaccia.

Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks – sliced in half lengthwise then finely sliced
1 courgette – cut into quarters lengthwise then into chunks
Handful of broccoli – I used tenderstem but the normal stuff works just as well – cut into chunks
3 handfuls of pearl barley
1 x 400g tin butterbeans – drained and rinsed
2 handfuls of frozen peas – about a small mugful
1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme
vegetable stock – enough to cover the vegetables – more if you like your soup more of a broth
1 teaspoon marmite or other yeast extract
salt and pepper
1 red chili – sliced (optional)

Heat the oil in a large pan then gently fry the leeks until soft. Add the courgettes and thyme and continue to fry and stir gently for 3-4 minutes. Now add all the other ingredients except the chili, bring the stock to the boil and simmer until the barley is cooked. If using, add the sliced chili and heat through.

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