this soup is one of the best soups i've ever made, hands down. :)
spicy vegetable barley stew
+ celery heart, chopped small
+ 1 small onion, chopped small
+ 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
+ spices (fresh sage, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, salt) to taste
+ 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (more or less, depending on taste)
+ 2 cubes vegetable boullion (i used rapunzel's, with sea salt and herbs)
+ 1 cup barley
+ 1 pkg. tofurky sun-dried tomato "sausage"
+ 32oz. can crushed tomatoes
+ 6-8 cups of water (depending on amount of vegetables being used and how thick you want the broth to be)
sautee celery, onion, and garlic in oil until onion and celery begin to soften; add spices and toss around for 1 minute. add vegetables and stir-fry until slightly browned around the edges (but not soft) and coated in herbs. add tomatoes and water; stir until mixed, and then let sit until beginning to boil. reduce the heat to medium/low and add boullion and barley; cover and let simmer.
in another pan, lightly fry tofurky sausage with oil until browned; add to stew (if you like the sausage to not blend in much with the flavor of the stew, don't add until the end).
stir stew occasionally, but otherwise keep covered; once barley and vegetables are softened, take off the heat and eat by the heaping bowlful. :)
the vegetables that i used were the only ones i had available, but i can imagine that others would work wonderfully (particularly root veggies). you might also add beans or lentils to the mix to make it more like a chili. also, with the fresh herbs- i broke them off their stems, but otherwise kept them whole. you might chop them for a different flavor, or even used dried in addition to/instead of the fresh.