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.


  • 40ml rapeseed oil
  • 200g onions, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 10g chilli flakes
  • 500g chopped tomatoes, canned
  • 60ml white wine vinegar
  • 200g carrots, chopped
  • 150g celery, chopped
  • 300g chestnut mushrooms, chopped
  • 1.5l water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 400g pearl barley (1kg cooked weight)
  • 300g canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 100g baby spinach
  • 300g parmesan shavings


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Heat 40ml of rapeseed 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 15minutes.
  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 30g of shaved parmesan