I love going out for lunch – especially on a Sunday, when here in the UK anywhere worth its salt will offer a nice big Sunday roast. Heaps of veggies, roast potatoes, gravy, maybe some kind of nut roast… it’s a brilliant way to celebrate the weekend.
But after a big lunch, I’m always unsure what to have for dinner. I never want anything heavy, having already filled up at lunch time – but if I have nothing at all for dinner, I’m usually hungry again before bed time. It’s a conundrum.
Something like this low calorie barley and mushroom soup is the perfect solution. It’s substantial enough that it will make you feel like you’ve had a meal, and will keep you full til the end of the night – but it’s super low calorie, so you don’t need to feel guilty about the dozens of roast potatoes you had earlier on…
And when I say super low calorie, I mean super duper low calorie. It’s only about 50 calories for a small bowlful – and even if you use the biggest bowl you own, it’ll probably still contain less than 100 calories.
The recipe is simple. Cook off some onion and mushrooms, then add some liquid and let it simmer away for a while with the pearl barley. It soaks up all the yummy flavours, and gives a really tasty soup.
The pearl barley and juicy mushrooms bulk out the dish, but most of the flavour comes from the veggie stock – so make sure you use a really tasty, great quality one (the ones that come as a jelly are pretty good). Then just add some thyme and bay, and a generous amount of black pepper.
The result is a tasty, salty, hearty dish – you’d never believe it was so low calorie. Serve it up in a mug for an even more comforting dinner (somehow clasping a hot mug in my hands never fails to satisfy!).
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, sliced or diced
- 150 g mushrooms, sliced (~ 2 cups sliced)
- 75 g pearl barley (~ 1/4 cup)
- 1 litre hot water (~ 4 cups)
- 1 litre hot, good quality vegetable stock (~ 4 cups)
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Black pepper
Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan, and add the onion and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat, until soft.
Add the pearl barley, water and stock, along with the dried thyme, bay leaf, and a generous amount of black pepper. Bring to a simmer, and cook for around 45 minutes, or until the pearl barley is completely cooked.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose.