Hearty vegetable soup, adapted from Coral Tree Cafe's vegetable… (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles…)
If you're looking for a simple dinner that will help to stave off the chilly wet weather, look no further than Coral Tree Cafe's vegetable soup. Fresh vegetables simmered with barley in a hearty broth, it makes for a perfect one-dish meal. What's more, you might not even notice it's vegetarian. (Of course, you can add some meat or doctor the ingredients to suit your taste.) You can find the recipe here.
For more quick-fix dinner ideas, check out our video recipe gallery here. Food Editor Russ Parsons and Test Kitchen manager Noelle Carter show you how to fix a dozen dishes in an hour or less.
Mac 'n' cheese recipes galore!
Go behind the scenes at the Test Kitchen
Browse hundreds of recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen
You can find Noelle Carter on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest. Email Noelle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coral Tree Cafe's vegetable soup
Total time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 to 10
Note: Adapted from Coral Tree Cafe 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 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.