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.