2 tsp olive oil, extra-virgin
1 large carrot, diced
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 cup diced celery
4 tsp minced garlic
4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 cup water
14 1/2 oz canned diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley
8 oz fresh mushrooms, cremini, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 small zucchini, diced
1/2 cup basil, chopped
Top with shredded Daiya mozzarella-style shreds
Heat oil in a large nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add carrot, onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are light golden, about 5 minutes.
Stir in garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add broth, water and tomatoes to pan; bring to a boil over high heat.
Add barley, mushrooms and pepper; cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until barley is almost tender, about 40 minutes.
Stir in zucchini; cover and cook until barley and zucchini are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in fresh basil. I also added parsley and thyme from our Tower Garden. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle each serving with 1/2 tablespoon non-dairy (Daiya) cheese.
This soup keeps very well. Refrigerate up to 5 days or freeze in airtight containers up to 3 months.