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Italian Barley Soup with Melty Parmesan Croutons (Crockpot)

italian barley soup with melty parmesan croutons
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This simple vegetable soup is elevated to gourmet status with the addition of fresh herbs and melty parmesan crouton nuggets of goodness. Throw it in the crockpot and come home to a delicious, comforting dinner. The leftovers make a regular appearance in my kids’ lunchbox.  They love this one!

Italian Barley Soup with Melty Parmesan Croutons
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Ingredients
  1. 1 onion, chopped
  2. 3 ribs celery, chopped
  3. 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  4. 4 c low-sodium veggie broth
  5. 2 c water
  6. 1 (28 oz/796mL) can diced tomatoes
  7. 1/2 c pearl barley
  8. 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  9. 1/2 c packed fresh basil, finely chopped
  10. 1/2 c packed fresh parsley, finely chopped
  11. 1 tsp dried rosemary (or 1 tbsp fresh)
  12. 1/4 c parmesan or asiago cheese, cut into 1 cm cubes (and the rind, if you have it!*)
  13. 1 tsp sea salt
  14. 1/4 tsp pepper
  15. 2 c finely chopped kale (stems removed)
  16. *TIP: Don’t throw your parmesan rinds out, keep them in the freezer and add them to all manners of home-made soup, & remove before serving, to add a boost of flavour
Instructions
  1. Add onion, celery, garlic, broth, water, tomatoes, barley, carrots, basil, parsley, rosemary, cheese, rind (if using) salt and pepper to the crockpot, stir to combine and cook on “low” setting for 8 hours or “high” for 4 hours, adding the kale in the last hour or so of cook-time.
  2. If you’d rather keep it simple and one-step, add the kale when you add the other ingredients, just know it will be “well-done” by the end of cooking time.
  3. Remove rind, and garnish with fresh parsley & more grated parmesan.
  4. Makes about 11 cups.
Notes
  1. If you don't have a crockpot, you could easily make this stovetop in a soup pot, just cook your onions and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil to soften before adding the rest of the ingredients, bringing to a boil then cooking over low until veggies are tender.
simple balance http://simple-balance.ca/

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