Tomato Barley Soup

A New Year is here–always a great time to add some lighter dishes to the kitchen menu. Enter Tomato Barley Soup–no added fat, no added salt–a fresh, healthy bowl that still satisfies on frosty winter days. A warming little jewel from the 2014 Recipe Collection.
Serves 6

1/2 cup barley
1 medium onion chopped
3 ribs of celery, chopped, including tops
3 cups chopped ripe tomatoes, or one 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes, drained
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
Fresh basil leaves
Freshly grated Romano cheese for garnish

In a large stockpot combine barley, onion, celery, tomatoes and stock. Bring to a boil over a high heat, reduce heat and simmer covered for 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with fresh basil and sprinkle with Romano cheese.

COOK'S NOTES: For the lightest take on this recipe use fresh tomatoes, and low sodium stock, then season to taste. For ultimate convenience I opted to use organic fire-roasted tomatoes from a can, adding that little extra bit of flavor.