Chickpea Barley Minestrone

We are a family of soup addicts. What I love about soup — apart from it being the perfect comfort dish — is the abundance of flavour options depending on what vegetables are in season. In this version of minestrone I pair a medley of root vegetables with chickpeas and barley for an interesting variation on the more traditional pasta or bean variety.

The parmesan cheese is a key ingredient in this soup. Not only does it thicken the soup, but it adds a nutty, salty dimension. This soup is a great stand-alone meal or could be served as a side dish to any main. Oh, and be prepared to hear “more please” from the even the pickiest eater.

Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian friends~

Preparation

1/Cook chickpeas as directed. Set aside.
Time-saving tip: Let chickpeas cook for 2 minutes in boiling water. Remove from stovetop and let them sit in the water for 2 hours (covered). When ready to cook, drain the water and cook as directed with fresh water. This ‘2 minute-2 hour’ rule reduces the cooking time significantly!
2/Cook barley as directed. Set aside. I used organic hulls barley in our test kitchen
Did you know? Whole grain barley, such as the hulless variety, takes longer to cook than Pearl Barley (polished barley where some of the outer bran has been removed with the hull) however you benefit from the added fibre found in the germ and bran.
3/Prepare parmesan cheese (if opting to prepare your own)

Part A: Parmesan Cheese

This is a quick, easy recipe for vegan parmesan should you not have any store-bought cheese handy or you prefer crafting your own! 

Ingredients 

3/4 cup cashews, raw (110g)
1 tsp hemp seeds, raw and unshelled
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp lemon juice, fresh

Instructions

1/Place cashews and hemp seeds in the Thermomix mixing bowl. Grind 7 sec/Speed 7.
Note: Be careful not to overgrind.
2/Add salt and garlic powder to the TM bowl. Using the Turbo setting (1.0 sec) pulse twice.
3/Add lemon juice to the TM bowl. Using the Turbo setting( 0.5 sec) plus three times.
Transfer the prepared cheese to a small mixing bowl; set aside.

Part B: Chickpea-Barley Soup
Ingredients

1 onion, halved (80g)
2 leeks, coarsely chopped (120g)
Olive oil (40g)
Medley of vegetables, coarsely chopped (I used celery, carrots, nugget potatoes & sweet potatoes)
Water (1000g)
1.5 Tbsp vegetable bouillon powder

Instructions

1/Place onion and leek into Thermomix mixing bowl. Chop 5 sec/Speed 7. Using the spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2/Add olive oil to the TM bowl. Sauté 3 mins/120C/Speed 1. Once again, scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with spatula.
3/Add mixed vegetables. Chop 8 sec/Speed 4.
4/Add water and vegetable bouillon powder. Cook 15 mins/100C/Speed 1 (Reverse function). You can now remove the mixing bowl from the Thermomix unit.
Transfer the soup to a large bowl.
5/Add reserved chickpeas, barley and parmesan cheese (amounts to your liking) and combine. Add a pinch of salt. Sprinkle with additional parmesan cheese to taste.

*We love comfort food, especially in the fall and winter months. If you are like us, you should try our Tofu Bacon-Tomato Sandwich.*

Note: This recipe was made using a Thermomix appliance, however it can easily be adapted using similar food prep tools (e.g. mutli-function processor, immersion blender etc) or using a more traditional stovetop method.

 

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