I'm yet to do the "sneak the vegetables in" kind of parenting. I think it's important that children know what they are eating, learn to distinguish one vegetable from another, and understand why they are a part of a healthy diet. They, of course, have their preferences, but so do we adults. Now that said, I find soups and stews are a wonderful way to incorporate many veggies in one dish, especially the ones they are fussy about! They eat it all without any hoo-ha and happily tuck in seconds too as was the case with this barley soup with beans and mustard greens!
Last winter both of them announced they will never touch sarson ka saag!! I know, heartbreaking right? Though if I threaten them enough, they will eat some. So I had to come up with another way of cooking it. I did a quick stir fry with garlic and they lapped it up!
This time, armed with a pack of beautiful white beans and mustard greens from a local organic farmer's market, I decided to go the soup way..
Soups are one of my favorite meals to cook up. They are really as simple as tossing in a whole bunch of stuff in a pot and letting it all simmer away. Leftovers are always welcome as I find the flavors get concentrated and it tastes even better the next day. A hot bowl of soup like this one is always comforting and soothing in this cold weather.
I like the play of textures in my food. I love how the intense garlic flavor and the sharp peppery bite from mustard greens are perfectly complemented by the rich buttery white beans, chewy nutty barley, and sweet carrots. Seasoned with warm, aromatic spice mix -dukkah ( recipe given below) steps up the game further. Gloriously hearty and so healthy too. Packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, this recipe is surely a keeper!
- To avoid overcooking greens in soups, I add them right at the end. Mustard greens do take longer to cook than say, spinach. About 10 -15 minutes of cooking time was good enough for us.
- Lemon juice is a mandatory addition to most of my soups. I stir some in just before serving.
- A drizzle of good-quality olive oil and some shavings of parmesan cheese do wonders for the dish. I used some sharp cheddar cheese for la Familia as that's what I had in hand.
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White Bean, Barley and Mustard Green Soup
- 150 gms White beans Soaked overnight
- 100 gms Pearl Barley
- 3 Carrots Diced
- 1 Onion, large Diced
- 8-10 cloves garlic Finely minced
- 5 Tomatoes Pureed
- 50 gms Green beans Diced
- 250 gms Mustard Greens Chopped finely
- 2-3 cups Water
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 Tbsp Dukkah
- 1 Tbsp Lemon juice
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Olive oil, Cheese for serving Optional
- 1/4 cup Almonds
- 2 Tbsp Coriander seeds
- 1 Tbsp Cumin
- 2 Tbsp White sesame
- 3-4 Dried red chillis
- 1 tsp Black peppercorns
- 1 tsp salt
- Rinse the soaked white beans and pressure cook them in salted water. I didn't let even one whistle go through completely. They cook very fast. Drain and keep aside.
- Heat the olive oil, in a large pot. Add garlic and a bay leaf saute for a couple of minutes, add the onions and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Tip in the barley, carrots and beans and saute them for 5-7 minutes. Season the mixture with dukkah, salt & pepper. Add the tomato puree and 2 cups of water. Let it come to gentle boil, cover and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes until the barley is cooked.
- Now stir in the white beans, mustard greens and the remaining one cup of water. Let them cook for another 10-15 minutes, till the greens are cooked to your liking. Add more water according to the consistency you want.
- Once the soup is cooked through. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Add the lemon juice. Drizzle with some extra olive oil if you wish and serve hot. Enjoy!!
- Dry roast the nuts, seeds, spices and chillis separately.
- Let cool completely and grind to a coarse powder.
- This can used in a variety of ways- sprinkle on eggs, cheese toasts, sandwiches, pastas, grilled or roasted veggies, fish, chicken.