- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 4 crushed garlic cloves
- 1 chopped medium onion
- 1-2 chopped celery stalks
- 3/4 cup lentils
- 3/4 cup pearl barley
- 8 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth*
- 1 14 1/2-oz can low-sodium diced tomatoes, do not drain
- 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
- 1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
*I used a combination of both. Find 4-cup boxes of low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth at your local supermarket. This is a great item to keep stored in your pantry to prepare quick soup anytime.
2. After 45 minutes, add the thinly sliced carrots and cook another 10 minutes or until carrots are tender. Remember, they will continue cooking a little after you turn off the heat. Add the baby spinach while the soup is still hot.
3. Let soup cool a bit in serving bowls to avoid burns. Add grated Parmesan to individual serving bowls just before serving.
Tip: You can add some protein like chicken breast, lean beef, or tofu to your soup. To cook chicken breast, simmer in cold water for 10-15 minutes, then add whole or shredded chicken breast to individual bowls.