Mediterranean Spinach, Cannellini Bean and Barley Soup

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This soup was supposed to be something else but ended up being a happy accident instead.   🙂

I have decided to go public with a condition I have been suffering with for a little bit.  I’ve gone to Doctors periodically for pains in my body in different places.  I finally connected all the dots one night and realized all these pains had something in common.  They were all at my joints.

I suffer from TMJ badly.  I have elbow pain, knee pain and was just diagnosed with this crazy condition called Costochondritis which is this crazy sharp pain in what feels like your lung.  Turns out it’s an inflammation of the cartilage that attaches the ribs to the breastbone (only me, I know).  The Doctor told me is like arthritis in that there is no known cause or cure and it comes and goes in pain depending on the severity of inflammation.

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Anyway, I am telling you all this because once I connected the dots, I realized I have arthritis and since I am not a fan of Western traditional medicine I realized I had to turn to food for my answers.

I really feel food is thy medicine.  There are so many healing properties in foods as well as harmful ones.  So I have been doing a lot of reading and research on arthritis and foods that inflame the body and foods that have anti inflammatory healing properties as well.

I think you’ll be seeing a lot more posts and recipes that include anti inflammatory foods this year.  Which means you will also be seeing more Mediterranean type dishes, as they shy away from red meats and eat more fish, olive oils, fresh fruits and veggies.

So as I was experimenting in the kitchen with my long list of anti inflammatory foods and I came up with this soup.   Here is a list of some of the anti inflammatory foods that I incorporated in there:

  • Beans of all kinds are anti inflammatory and they are digested slowly by the body so they are great for sustained energy as well as weight loss.
  • Carrots are a great food all around.  Tons of Vitamin A and Beta Carotene!  They are a great addition to soups.
  • Spinach (and kale) are two of the most nutrient rich foods on the planet!  Which is why I try to have a Green Smoothie almost every day.
  • Zucchini is also an anti inflammatory food and as long as it’s organic it isn’t a genetically modified food.
  • Tomatoes are another powerhouse of a food.  So good in so many ways due to the lycopene they contain.  You can eat them raw, cooked, canned, diced, or on top of your favorite pasta.

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And let’s not forget the olive oil used to saute the veggies.  And the onion and garlic all of which have great healing properties.

This soup is very mild in it’s taste which is sure to please many different pallets, especially kids.  So whether you want to reduce inflammation in your body or just have a really great bowl of hot soup, this is your recipe!

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Mediterranean Spinach, Cannellini Bean and Barley Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, diced (1 large or 2 small)
  • 1 cup onion, diced (1 small)
  • 1 cup celery, chopped (2 stalks)
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 64 oz. vegetable stock (about 1 1/2 boxes or homemade)
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (preferably no salt)
  • 3/4 cup small pearl barley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup parsley (stems included)
  • 3-4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Crumbled Feta cheese for topping before serving

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the carrots, onion and celery and saute for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute more. Add the zucchini.
  2. Stir in the vegetable broth, tomatoes, barley, oregano, thyme, bay leaf and season with salt and pepper to taste. This will depend on if your veg broth is low sodium as well as the diced tomatoes.
  3. Stir to combine and lay the parsley on top of the soup. Bring it just to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the parsley and bay leaf.
  5. Stir in the lemon juice and spinach.
  6. Cook for another 10 minutes or until the spinach is wilted and the barley is soft.

 

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