Comfort food doesn’t have to be something you remember from your childhood made by your mom or your dad or your grandma. It can also be turkey barley vegetable soup that was cooked for you by your best friend.
A few years ago (just a few), after I had graduated from Virginia Tech and my friend had graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), I headed down to Richmond, Virginia from my new home in Columbia, Maryland for a girls’ weekend. Wendy and I hadn’t seen each other in ages and we were both adjusting to the early stages of adult life.
Before our all-night conversation about love, careers, and family (drinking may have been involved), we ate some of Wendy’s Hamburger Barley Vegetable Soup. I loved it! I immediately requested the recipe and filed it away in my cooking notebook. I made it several times and then, as my cookbook and recipe collection grew, I forgot about the soup.
I’ve been craving comfort food lately, but let’s face it: most comfort food is loaded with carbs. In flipping through my notebook, I found the recipe for Wendy’s soup. Perfect! I made a few minor changes, notably replacing the ground beef with ground turkey. This soup has been my lunch for three days running. I still love it.
The next time you’re craving comfort food, all you need to do is look to your best friend.
Make it gluten-free: Replace the barley with a gluten-free grain such as brown rice or quinoa.
Make it vegan: Skip the turkey and use vegan bouillon.
Make it paleo: Leave out the barley.
Turkey Barley Vegetable Soup
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
- 6 cups water
- 1 cube beef or chicken bouillon
- 2 cups fresh or frozen carrots sliced
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 medium green pepper chopped
- 1/3 cup barley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 28 ounces diced tomatoes, undrained 1 can
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- Heat olive oil in Dutch oven or stock pot. Add turkey and cook until no longer pink. Drain on paper towels.
- Return turkey to pot and add water, bouillon, carrots, onion, green pepper, barley, salt, pepper, bay leaves, ketchup, tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about an hour.
- Remove bay leaves before serving.