This is a wonderful full flavored soup with salsa as the secret ingredient. Choose the salsa to suit your taste. Whole grain barley adds great texture and extra nutrients.

2/3 cup quick pearl barley or 1/2 cup regular pearl barley 3 cups water 1 pound lean ground beef 1 large onion, diced 1 teaspoon minced garlic 4 cups fat-free beef broth 2 cups medium or hot salsa 1 teaspoon chili powder 1 teaspoon cumin 1/4 teaspoon white pepper 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, undrained Salt and pepper to taste

Combine barley and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and continue to boil gently for 10 minutes or until the barley is tender. Drain and set barley aside. In a large soup pot, combine ground beef and onions. Cook over medium-hot heat until beef is brown and onions are tender. Add all remaining ingredients except the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10-20 minutes. Add barley and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste. If desired, add additional broth to thin to desired consistency.

Note: If using regular pearled barley it will need to be cooked for about 40 minutes.

Serves 6

Nutritional Information per serving: Calories: 375 Fat, gm.: 15 Protein, gm.: 33 Carbs, gm.: 28 Cholesterol, mg.: 50 Fiber, gm.: 3.5