I hope you had a fabulous holiday season despite any social restrictions that may have been imposed upon you by the pandemic-management guidelines.
If you compensated for the void with an overindulgence of Christmas cookies and too many Suits episodes on Netflix, your body may be telling you that it is READY for a return to your former-- and more sensible -- lifestyle and dietary habits.
I know mine is! Really is. So this week I am eating soup. Favourful, satisfying, nourishing soup.
This Smoky Bean and Barley Soup is—to use the seasonal metaphor— “comfort and joy” in a bowl. It will extend that holiday spirit without giving you that holiday food hangover.
It is also chock-full of immune boosting onions, garlic, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and peppers. Barley is a source of potent antioxidants (tocotrienols and tocopherols, natural vitamin E). The grain and legume combination makes this soup a complete protein, and both ingredients contribute to its high fibre content.
Paprika too can contribute to health. The beta carotene, capsaicin, zeaxanthin, and lutein that it contains are found by research to reduce inflammation, promote healthy vision, and protect against cancer. Not too shabby for a measly little old spice! I like that the smoked paprika used in this recipe imparts a delightful smoky flavour, but without the damaging effect on DNA as would smoked sausage for example, according to a Johns Hopkins study.
Here is the recipe:
1 tablespoon (15 mL) oil (I used avocado)
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeling and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup rinsed pot barley (or brown rice for gluten-free)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon (15 mL) chili powder
1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground cumin
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
28-ounce (796 mL) can diced tomatoes, including liquid
7 cups (1.75 L) vegetable broth
14 ounces (398 mL) home-cooked or canned black, pinto, or red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Juice of lime, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Okay. Was that easy, or what? Recipes like this make it possible for us to eat well and stay well. No excuses now!