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Hearty Bean and Barley Soup

It's amazing how you can throw a hodge podge of stuff into a pot, bring it to a boil, and twenty minutes later end up with yummy soup!

7 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 (4 inch) rosemary sprigs or teaspoon dried
1 can (19 oz) dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
sauté medium
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley
6 ounces torn spinach leaves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (2 oz) grated fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 15 minutes. Drain through a sieve into a large bowl; discard solids.
Measure 1 cup beans, and mash with a fork in a small bowl. Reserve the remaining whole beans.
Heat oil (if using) in pan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook 4 minutes. Add broth mixture, mashed beans, whole beans, tomatoes, and barley; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes. Stir in spinach and black pepper; cook 5 minutes or until barley is tender. Sprinkle each serving with cheese if desired.
Makes 8 servings (serving size: about 1 cup) at 2 points each.