Smoky Tomato Barley Stew


Cold winter days beg for hearty stews, but what I miss most right now is the flavors of summer. Like barbeque. And tomatoes. And barley. Well, maybe not that last one. But to be sure, this stew is easy to make, totally satisfying and absolutely reminiscent of summertime BBQ parties. Don't let the lengthy list of herbs and spices intimidate you; they work together to make this stew stand out.

Smoky Tomato Barley Stew
Yield: 4-6 servings

1 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp rubbed sage
2 cups crushed tomatoes (canned is ok, juice included)
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1-2 cups water
1 15-oz can cannelini beans
1/2 cup pearl barley
1 Tbsp molasses

In a large stockpot, sautee onion in olive oil until translucent. Add herbs and spices and stir for 1 minute. Add all other ingredients and bring the stew to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally until barley is tender, about 20-25 minutes. Serve with a dollop of plain soy yogurt and your favorite soup crackers!

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