I was feeding a crowd several weeks back and dug this soup recipe out from my archives. I changed it quite a bit and everyone loved it and asked for the recipe. So, I thought I’d give it to you all too, in three forms: the original form, my regular tweaks, and what I did when I had a big crowd.


I tore it out of a book entitled “365 Easy Slow Cooker Recipes” – I don’t have any more info and there are at least two books with that title on Amazon, so I can’t be sure to link you to the correct version.


Bean and Barley Soup

2 – 15oz cans pinto beans with liquid

3 – 14oz cans chicken broth

½ Cup quick cook barley (Trader Joes carries it)

1 – 15oz can Italian stewed tomatoes

½ t ground pepper

Combine everything in your slow cooker, set to low for 4-5 hours. Serve.


My Regular Tweaks

Decrease broth to 2 – 14oz cans low-sodium chicken broth

Instead of Italian stewed tomatoes, use a can of tomato sauce

Add 1 t each basil and oregano

Cook as usual


What I did to serve a crowd of 10 – feeds them all and you get a couple meals of leftovers

4 – 15oz cans of different types of beans (I used kidney, black, pinto and garbonzo)

56oz total of low sodium broth (I used all veggie broth)

1 Cup quick cook barley

1 – 15oz can diced tomatoes

1 – 15oz can tomato sauce

1 – gallon sized Ziploc filled with your favorite veggies cut into bite-sized pieces (I used a combo of onions, minced garlic, carrots, celery, cabbage, zucchini, mushrooms, and potatoes). I cut everything the night before and kept it in the fridge until I was ready to dump it all in the next day.

1 palm full of sodium free seasoning blend, like Mrs. Dash or Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute

Throw it all in the crock-pot, veggies on the bottom, then seasonings and beans, top with tomatoes and tomato sauce, pour broth over it all. 4-5 hours on HIGH (instead of low).


No matter the version, you can spice it up with some red pepper flakes or your favorite hot sauce. I always wait to let everyone spice and salt their own bowl to their liking. You could even top with shredded cheese or sour cream. YUM!