What you are looking at is the Beet, Barley, and Black Soybean soup from Vegan with a Vengeance, albeit with a few alterations. I don't usually plan out all of my meals for the week because sometimes I just do not know how much time that I will have to cook. However, I try to have a particular dish in mind during the weekend for when I go shopping and visit the Farmers' Market in case there is a special ingredient or two that I would need. This soup was what I had in mind for this week.
I have only made this once before, and it was probably about the same time as now last year. I had noticed that beets were appearing at the market, and I figured that I should give it another try. Oddly enough, I did not have the main herb ingredients of fresh dill and dried tarragon for which the recipe called. Good thing that my roots are strictly German and Hungarian or else any Russian ancestors would be rolling in their graves. (Yes, somehow the combination of beets and barley makes me think of Russia.) I substituted an Italian spice mix as well as marjoram not to mention doubling the garlic from 3 to 6 cloves. I also tossed in a vegetable bullion cube for extra good measure. When I was adding the beans, I felt as if I should add a little more color, not to mention healthiness, to the soup. So, I quickly chopped up some swiss chard to add to the pot. (Yes, I hadn't used up my batch from Saturday's market yet, and I need to get my weekly fix on almost a daily basis while the cheap market chard lasts. Store-bought just doesn't even compare.)
But how did it taste? Amazing. The chard adds a little something, and the barley still has a bit of bite to it and isn't mushy at all (which is a problem I can have with barley sometimes). The wholesome feeling almost makes up for the overly large amount of chocolate that I consumed this afternoon for no good reason. Almost, but not quite.