This recipe is an example of an easy soup created with both children and adults in mind. Lower the salt and miso content for young children, and adults can add a spoon of sauerkraut at the table for more flavor. I made this recipe last week and it’s already approved by two young children, age 2 and 4. If your child gets a little squirrelly about parsley, just add it to individual bowls.

Barley and Yellow Split Pea Soup

2/3 cup hulled barley, rinse and soak overnight
1 onion, diced
1/3 cup yellow split peas, rinse well
postage stamp size piece of kombu
1 medium carrot, diced
1-2 stalks celery, diced
sea salt
chickpea miso or other mild miso
chopped parsley

1. Water saute the onion until translucent in a small amount of water in the bottom of a soup pot.

2. Add barley, yellow split peas and kombu to the pot. Add about 4 cups of water. You will need to add more water as the soup cooks, but this is a good amount to start with. Bring the ingredients to a boil and then turn the heat down to simmer gently. Cover. Check regularly to make sure there is still enough liquid. Cook for 60-70 minutes. The barley should be starting to soften. If it’s not starting to soften, cook for 30 minutes longer.

3. Add the carrots, celery, two pinches of sea salt and enough water to create a soup consistency. Let simmer until the carrots are soft and then check to see if the barley is soft enough to eat. Barley doesn’t always get completely soft. It will still maintain some texture, but shouldn’t be chewy.

4. Put 2-3 tsp miso in a small bowl and add either soup broth or a little hot water to it to help it dissolve. Stir until liquid and then add to the soup while there is a slight simmer. You don’t want to add miso to boiling liquid, but a low simmer is okay. Stir well and let simmer for a few minutes. Taste and adjust for salt, adding a little more miso if necessary.

5. Remove pot from heat and add parsley to the soup pot immediately or garnish with parsley at the table.

If you are running a little short on time, you can pressure cook the barley and yellow split peas for 30 minutes before continuing with the rest of the soup. It won’t turn it into a 20 minute soup, but it might help a bit.
I sometimes add a handful of chopped green cabbage near the end. It would also be yummy with about 1/3 cup corn added.