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Beef and Barley Vegetable Soup

If you’re looking for comfort food recipes for the cooler temps Nancy Fox should be your go-to person. Over at Nancy has a number of filling recipes like this beef and barley soup that will fill you up and make you happy, but won’t impact your belly or your waistline. 


On a cold day this nourishing soup will warm you up fast. It has all the colors and flavors of autumn. In my house 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. Nine different veggies, in fact. Including butternut squash, zucchini, onions, carrots, celery, spinach, tomatoes, spinach and peas. In addition, I’ve added a pound of lean ground beef which is a perfect match for the hearty barley and all of the vegetables.

The skinny for one serving: 255 calories, 2 grams fat and 4 Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS.

Beef and Barley Vegetable Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour


1 quart (32 fl oz) size carton reduced-sodium beef broth (optional: opt for organic)

1 quart (32 fl oz) size carton butternut squash soup, reduced-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. Blot with paper towels to remove excess fat.

3. Add beef and remaining ingredients (except the spinach and peas) to soup pot. 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 for 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 this recipe. Not only does it thicken the soup, but it adds lots of nutritional value. The entire container has 12 grams of fiber without adding a lot of calories or fat. I have found it at Trader Joe’s. You could also make your own and portion it out for this recipe.

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

Nancy Fox

Nancy Fox is no stranger to the food industry. She founded Mrs. Beasley's, a gift-basket company featuring baskets full of decadent baked goods. It became the "hot" gift to give among the Hollywood community. 
Nancy later opened 2 low fat restaurants called Nancy’s Healthy Kitchen. Her line of reduced-fat cookies were featured on "Oprah's Favorites" gift show. Continuing her passion for cooking and baking Nancy created a recipe website called Skinny Kitchen. Each week she shares skinny recipes, cooking and kitchen tips, food finds and the healthy benefits of many recipes. There’s also nutritional facts and Weight Watchers POINTS on each recipe.

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Nancy Fox

Friday 11th of November 2016

Wow you find an oldie but goodie from my site. Thanks so much for sharing! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. Nancy

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