Vegetable soup from the Coral Tree Caf. (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles…)
Dear SOS: I have never been able to find a vegetable soup that comes close to Coral Tree Café's. I know they must have a secret ingredient in there that gives it that extra something special! With fall approaching (and hopefully cooler temperatures), I would love to make this soup at home.
Dear Emily: Coral Tree Café was happy to share its vegetable soup recipe, which we've adapted below. Enjoy!
Coral Tree Café's vegetable soup
Total time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 to 10
Note: Adapted from Coral Tree Café in Los Angeles.
2 tablespoons oil
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups diced onions
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
3/4 cup pearl barley
1 quart vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
2 cups quartered mushrooms
2 cups diced zucchini
Salt and pepper
1. Heat a medium, heavy-bottom pot over medium heat until hot. Add the oil, then add the carrots, onions, bell pepper, thyme and barley. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are golden-brown, about 18 minutes, taking care that the barley does not burn.
2. Stir in the vegetable broth and marinara. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
3. Cook until the barley is al dente, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and zucchini, and season to taste with salt and pepper (amount of seasoning needed will vary depending on the vegetable broth and marinara used). Cover and continue to simmer until the mushrooms and zucchini are just tender, 4 to 6 minutes.
4. Remove from heat, thin if desired, and season again to taste, and serve. This makes about 2½ quarts of soup.
Each of 10 servings: 155 calories; 4 grams protein; 26 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams fiber; 4 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 mg cholesterol; 8 grams sugar; 365 mg sodium.