The weather is changing. Summer is losing the battle to winter. And, my palate is looking for more comforting Autumnal foods. I found the original Pumpkin Barley Soup recipe in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. It just screamed out “Autumn”. It’s a great weeknight budget-friendly soup as well. So, I thought I’d give it a try with a few of my own changes.
First change, of course, is to add veggie sausage instead of pork sausage. I used Tofurkey Italian Sausage. I think this soup is a great showcase for this type of sausage, even for meat eaters. There’s a lot going on in the soup, so the sausage isn’t the main item. I don’t generally recommend fake meat products for meat eaters; it just never tastes exactly like the real thing. Now, if you can’t imagine trying these veggie sausages, I’d suggest a fully cooked chicken sausage or andouille sausage – something with a lot of flavor.
This soup would also be great with some white beans stirred in; just add a can of drained and rinsed Great Northern White Beans when you add the pumpkin.
One more note, you may notice I used “vegetable oil”. It sounds so generic. Olive oil will work nicely. I’ve also been using Safflower oil lately. I’ve tried to eliminate much of the canola oil from our diet due to the fact that the majority of canola oil is a GMO. However, if you can get organic canola oil, it should be GMO free. Read more about GMOs. (Want to compare oils, take a look here).
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil use your favorite
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 2 large Italian Style veggie sausages cut in half lengthwise, and chopped in 1/2 inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 6 cups vegetable broth low-sodium if using canned broth
- 1 15 oz pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a Dutch-oven or 4-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook until onion begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Add in sausage and thyme, cook for 5 minutes to heat through. Add barley and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, covered, 20 minutes or until barley is al dente.
- Stir in pumpkin and maple syrup, and heat through, about 5 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot garnished with thyme sprigs.