Perfect For Autumn…Hearty Beef and Barley Vegetable Soup

On a cold day this nourishing soup will warm you up fast.  It has all the color and taste sensations of autumn. This soup gets high marks due to a few interesting tricks.  First, in addition to reduced-sodium beef broth, I’ve added a pureed butternut squash soup for the base.  It’s robust and chock full of a variety of flavorful vegetables.  Amazingly, nine different ones including, butternut squash, zucchini, onions, carrots, celery, spinach, tomatoes, spinach and peas.  In addition, I’ve added 1 pound lean ground beef which is enough with the hearty barley and all of the vegetables. The skinny for 1 serving, 255 calories, 2 grams fat and 4 Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour


1 quart (32 fl oz) size carton organic reduced-sodium beef broth or reduced-sodium beef broth

1 quart (32 fl oz) size carton butternut squash soup, reduce-sodium, if possible

2 cups water

¾ cup pearl barley

2 bay leaves

1 pound lean ground beef

1 (14½ oz.) can diced tomatoes

2 cups sliced green cabbage (about ½ small head)

1 ½ cups onions, chopped

1 cup carrots, chopped

1 cup celery, sliced

1 medium zucchini, cut into ½ inch cubes

½ teaspoon dried basil

Fresh ground pepper to taste

2 cups fresh spinach

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded


1. In a large pot add beef broth, butternut squash soup, water, barley, and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.

2. In a non-stick pan, brown ground beef.  Pour into a colander in sink and drain the beef.  Blot with paper towels to remove excess fat.

3. Add beef and remaining ingredients to soup pot except the spinach and peas.  Bring back to boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until vegetables and barley are tender.

4. Add the spinach and peas to the soup and cook 10 more minutes until the spinach is soft. Remove the bay leaves.

5. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Makes 16 cups

Shopping Tip

Most supermarkets carry butternut squash soup in the health food section.  It’s available in a 32 oz carton.  We love using it as a base for the soup. Not only does it thicken but it adds lots of nutritional value.  The entire container has 12 grams of fiber without adding a lot of calories or fat. I found it at Trader Joe’s.

Weight Watchers
(old points) 4
Weight Watchers POINTS

SKINNY FACTS: for 1 cup serving, including cheese
255 calories, 2g fat, 16g protein, 20g carbs, 4g fiber, 225mg sodium, 18g sugar
FAT FACTS: for 1 cup serving, including cheese
435 calories, 18g fat, 16g protein, 45g carbs, 4g fiber, 675mg sodium, 19g sugar

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