Barley soup is a popular winter dish everywhere, and in Iran we used to have two varieties; white (cream-based) and red (tomato-based). Both were made with chicken though, so I decided to do it my way and go red with a green touch to make it vegan friendly. It is guaranteed to warm you up on a cold day 😉
I usually make my own stock for vegan dishes such as this with leeks, carrots, celery, parsnips & a bit of parsley simmered in water, but feel free to use any stock you wish, and certainly no shame in using ready made ones if you’re short of time. But needless to say homemade stock always tastes the best.
Another key ingredient in this recipe is the preserved lemon paste which gives it a wonderful aroma. You could buy it in the supermarkets (I get mine from Tesco), or just puree preserved lemons in a food processor. Feel free to change it for freshly squeezed lemon/lime juice if you can’t get it though. It will still taste divine, promise!
one pot dish, 45-60 minutes till ready
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced (crush with the side of the knife, then finely chop)
- 3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 150 g pearl barley
- 1.2 litre stock
- 300 g green beans, chopped into 1 inch length pieces
- 2 tsp preserved lemon paste (or you you could simply use lemon juice)
- salt & pepper
- In a large pan over medium-low heat, sweat the onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and stir. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the pepper and stir. Cook for 2 minutes, then stir in the barley and mix well to coat them in oil and the tomatoes. Pour the stock and mix. Let it come to a boil, then reduce heat, put the lid on and allow to cook for 20 minutes.
- Add the green bean and the preserved lemon paste; stir. Let it cook for 20 more minutes until the beans are tender and the barley is fully cooked. Season to taste and serve hot.