Full of pearl barley, this is a truly hearty soup that will keep you feeling full long after lunchtime. Feel free to improvise with this recipe using whatever vegetables or pulses you have to hand.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Large splash of olive oil
  • 4 onions onions, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • A pinch of chilli flakes
  • 400 gram tin of chopped tomatoes, canned
  • 60 millilitres white wine vinegar
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, chopped
  • 300 grams chestnut mushrooms, chopped
  • 1.5 litres water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
  • 400 grams pearl barley 
  • 300 grams canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 100 grams baby spinach
  • 200 grams parmesan shavings


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 celsius.
  2. Heat a large splash of olive oil in a large high-sided pan, gently fry the onions, garlic, chilli flakes, chopped tomatoes and white wine vinegar.
  3. Cook for 7 minutes, stirring often until tomatoes are caramelized and deep red.
  4. Add the carrots, celery, and mushrooms to the pan, cook for a further 8 minutes until browned.
  5. Pour in the water, season with salt and pepper, allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Dry roast the pearl barley in the oven for 8 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and cook in boiling water for 15 minutes.
  8. Stir the cannellini beans, spinach and pearl barley through the sauce.

To serve

Finish with parmesan shavings.