Helping families eat healthier for less

Helping families eat healthier for less

Monday, November 21, 2011

Roasted Carrot Barley Soup

The theme for Recipe Redux this month is "a whole new grain." I wanted to do something with barley. Although barley has been around for eons, it really isn’t eaten often in this country. I did a little research and learned that a majority of the barley grown in this country is used for animal feed (65%) or malt and alcohol production (35%); only 1.5% is consumed as food. The countries that eat the most barley as food include Morocco, China, India, and Ethiopia.
Barley has a good nutritional profile. I compared the nutrition facts label of two different Quaker Oats pearl barley products: quick and medium. There was no difference between the two products in terms of their nutritional profile. They both had the same amount of fiber, macronutrients, vitamins and minerals for a 48 gram serving. The only differences are the cooking times (45 to 50 minutes for the medium and 10 minutes for the quick) and the texture (the medium is chewier). "Pearled" means that the barley has been polished and the hull removed.
The chart below compares barley with several other common grains.  You can see that one serving of barley is an excellent source of fiber and it is sodium free and lowfat. Quinoa is often touted for its high protein, but you can see that barley isn’t far behind. Costs are compared at the bottom of the chart and you can see that barley is inexpensive and can usually be found at your local supermarket. Many of the more exotic grains (such as faro, kamut, etc.) can only be found at health/natural foods stores or online and are much more expensive.

Pearl Barley
(quick or medium)
(1/4 cup medium or 1/3 cup quick, dry)
(1/4 cup, dry)
Brown Jasmine Rice
(1/4 cup dry)
Bulgur Wheat
(1/4 cup, dry)
Total Fat
0.5 g
2 g
1 g
0.5 g
0 mg
1 mg
0 mg
0 mg
Dietary Fiber
5 g
3 g
2 g
6 g
5 g
6 g
3 g
5 g

Total Cost
No. svgs/pkg
Cost per svg

Note: for comparison purposes, all of the grains listed in the chart are for 48 grams of dry (uncooked) product which is 1/4 cup for all products except the quick barley in which 48 grams is 1/3 of a cup.
Next, I needed to decide what to do with the barley. I thought about a carrot rice soup I have had in the past but wanted to replace the rice with barley.
I began by coating carrot pieces with olive oil and then roasting themto bring out their sweetness. The roasted carrots are then cooked with onions, garlic, low sodium chicken broth, barley, and seasonings. Then the mixture gets pureed in a blender.

The final soup is topped with a few dabs of plain yogurt and dusted with cumin.

Here is the complete recipe.
Roasted Carrot Barley Soup
2 pounds carrots, peeled & trimmed
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, peeled & minced
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons quick cooking pearl barley
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt, stirred
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin powder
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut carrots into 1-1/2-inch pieces. If thick, cut in half lengthwise so that all the carrot slices are about the same size. Coat cut carrots with olive oil. Roast in 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes, turning once halfway through baking.
Heat canola oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for about 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 additional minute. Add carrots, broth, barley, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 12 minutes or until barley is tender. Remove soup from heat. Carefully puree soup in blender in batches until smooth. Don’t overfill blender container. Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle yogurt over top. Sprinkle with cumin.
Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition Information per Serving:
116 calories, 3 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g dietary fiber, 5 g protein, and 197 mg sodium. One serving of this low cost recipe provides an excellent source of vitamin A and K and a good serving of fiber and niacin.

Cost per Serving: $0.73
Pricing Note: all ingredients were at “regular” prices.

Be sure to check out these other blogs for more whole grain recipes.


  1. I sure wish I had a bowl of this today! I love barley and don't use it enough- great recipe.

  2. Yum carrot soup and you are nearly making me miss winter just a liitle bit as we head into Summer in Australia.

  3. Last night I made a root soup modeled after a recipe from Jane Brody's Good Food Book that used parsnips, carrots and barley (spices were a dash or two of Tabasco or cayenne pepper and 1/8 t curry powder).

    I used turnip, carrot, parsnip and rutabaga. The taste is interesting but it needs something creamy (yogurt?) and or sweet (pear - or is this just because I have 3 on the counter needing to be used?). I will try adding a dollop of yogurt to see if that is the missing ingredient.

    I have just stumbled across Recipe ReDux and am excited to see past as well as future healthy redux recipes