15.5ouncecanned cannellini beansdrained and rinsed (or 1.75 cups if cooked from dry)
4 and 1/2cupsvegetable broth
2cupsshredded kale or collards
freshly ground pepper, red pepper flakes, fresh Parmesanfor serving
Start by heating olive oil in a dutch oven or large stock pot over medium heat. Once hot, add diced onions, carrots and celery as well as the sliced Italian veggie sausages.
Saute for 8-10 minutes, or until onions are golden brown. The sausage should be lightly crisped and brown as well.
Add garlic and saute a minute more, until golden. Add balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan.
Add all remaining ingredients to the pot except for shredded kale (thyme, bay leaves, salt, cannellini beans, pearl barley, vegetable broth). Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer over medium-low.
Simmer uncovered until the pearl barley is cooked through, about 30 minutes. The barley should be soft but still slightly chewy.
Add shredded kale or collards. Simmer until wilted, about 2 minutes.
Serve with freshly ground black pepper and red pepper flakes. Top with Parmesan cheese if desired.
Vegetarian Italian sausage:Tofurky makes my favorite meatless sausage, but Field Roast and many other brands make delicious equivalents. Skip the sausage for a soy-free meal.