Pasta Fagioli Soup with Barley

This year winter has very slowly crept in but it now it’s definitely in full form. In fact, it’s so cold here that it’s painful when the air first hits your face! As a result, we are in full comfort food mode, with warm soups on top of our list. Pasta Fagioli soup in particular has a special place in my heart. It was the first Italian soup I ever had when I first moved to the United States. It is one of those dishes I felt I had to re-create when I went back home, and re-create I did! 

My version of the healthified Pasta Fagioli soup has no pasta! Instead I have added Barley which has complex carbs, and is an excellent vegetarian source of protein, fiber and lots of trace elements. Barley is a great substitute for the Ditalini pasta which is normally used in this soup. It makes the soup heartier, filling and more nutritious. Also, in the traditional Italian version, much more oil is added to this recipe (approximately ½ cup) but I have made it with only 2 tablespoons. Plus, I have also skipped cheese. I hope you will enjoy this soup, and stay warm! I know we will 🙂

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Onion – 1 medium, diced

Fresh Coriander – Optional for garnish (chopped)

Bay leaves – 3-4 small

Italian seasoning – ½ tsp

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Extra virgin olive oil – 2 Tbs

Iodized Sea Salt – 1 ½ tsp

Cannellini beans – 1 can 15.5 oz., drained and rinsed (or any small beans)

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Organic Barley – ¼ cup raw (makes 1 cup cooked)

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Organic crushed tomatoes with or without basil – 1 large can 28 oz.

Organic tomato puree – ½ cup (optional)


  • Warm a large pot. Add the extra virgin olive oil. Add the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes till onions are translucent.

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  • Then add the crushed tomatoes, puree and 28-30 oz. water.
  • Add the Italian seasoning, bay leaves and salt. Stir, cover and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes.

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  • You can cook the Barley now side by side. It will be ready to add to the soup by the time the soup has simmered. Wash and rinse the barley a couple of times. Take 3 times water in a deep pan, add the barley. Once the water boils, put a lid and simmer for 35-45 minutes till the grain is completely cooked. Drain away the remaining water if any left.
  • Add the 1 cup cooked Barley and Cannellini beans to the soup.
  • Simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves from the soup.
  • Do a taste test now for any additional salt etc. You can add some sugar if you think it’s too sour.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped Coriander.

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  • Enjoy!

Nutritional Content:

Total Servings: 10

Per Serving: Calories 99 cal, Fat 2.9 g, sodium 268 mg, Potassium 283 mg, Carbs 15 g, Fiber 4.4 g, Protein 4.1 g, Vit A 13%, Iron 7%


This soup has been entered in the No Croutons Required challenge for February 2015 by Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa’s Kitchen.


3 thoughts on “Pasta Fagioli Soup with Barley

  1. Pingback: Mozzarella Pesto Panini Sandwich | Healthy Eats For All

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