What exactly is barley? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, "It's a cereal grass . . . used especially in malt beverages, breakfast foods, and stock feeds."  This week, it's the ingredient that truly sets our What's Cookin'? recipe apart and makes it a unique dish for you to try at home.

Kelly Bland, from the UK Cooperative Extension Service, is sharing the agency's recipe for Vegetable Barley Soup.  Served in the spirit of hearty comfort foods to enjoy during the winter months, this particular recipe is different in that it sports a cup of pearled barley.

The recipe's relatively easy to make it home.  Your only real challenge may be finding the barley in the grocery store.  But, if you can find it, give this recipe a try!

VEGETABLE BARLEY SOUP

1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lb. carrots (about 4)
1 (28-ounce) can unsalted diced tomatoes
1 cup pearled barley
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 potato, diced
1 cup frozen green beans
1
/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen peas

Directions:

1) Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the onion, garlic powder, and olive oil.
Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

2)
Add carrots, tomatoes, barley, Italian seasoning, and vegetable broth. Stir to
combine. Cover with a lid and let soup
simmer for 30 minutes.
3)
Add diced potato. Cook for 10 minutes, or until potato pieces are tender.
4)
Add frozen green beans, corn, and peas. Stir and let cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.

As you can see, the Vegetable Barley Soup takes about an hour to cook, but the majority of that hour simply requires the soup to simmer so the flavors can mesh together.

Kelly brought me a sample and it was delicious.

Of course, the recipes Kelly shares here on WBKR 's What's Cookin'? are designed to accomplish a couple of things: 1) to give you family-friendly and healthy recipes you can easily tackle at home and 2) to save you money doing it.  Here's the cost breakdown for this recipe.

This recipe for Vegetable Barley Soup sakes 10 servings.  A serving size is 2 cups.  The cost of the entire recipe is $9.18.  That means the cost per serving is an incredibly affordable $1.83.

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