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Here’s a great recipe to try that uses basic food storage items. Everything on the ingredient list can be found in your food storage, even the produce. You can substitute dehydrated diced onion, carrots, and celery for the fresh.

I found this food storage friendly recipe on Eating Well. We tried it and served it with mini corn bread loaves. It was delicious!

This recipe adapts well to changes. Don’t have Great Northern Beans, but have Navy Beans or some other bean? It should work. Don’t have fresh ingredients, but have some dehydrated? It should work. You like things a little spicy? Kick it up by increasing the amounts of the spices. Like more vegetables or a more tomato flavor? Throw them in and experiment. It should work.

I doubled the amount of vegetables when I made it. The only other thing I would change would be to increase the amount of each of the seasonings as well.

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 9 cups water
  • 4 cups (32-ounce carton) chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup pearl barley
  • ⅓ cup dried black beans
  • ⅓ cup dried great northern beans
  • ⅓ cup dried kidney beans
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon salt


Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add water, broth, barley, black beans, great northern beans, kidney beans, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Bring to a lively simmer over high heat.

Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, 1¾ to 2½ hours (adding more water, if necessary or desired). Season with salt.

My Notes

I ended up cooking mine for a full 2½ hours and adding a total of 6 cups of additional water as mine cooked down super fast. The extra time was needed to ensure the beans were soft. Of course, I live in a very dry climate and thing cook down quickly for me.

If you are using dehydrated vegetables, add all ingredients (including the dehydrated vegetables) at once. The water in the soup will rehydrate the onion, celery, and carrots as it cooks.

Make sure to rinse and sort your beans before dumping them in your soup. This washes off any dust or dirt that may be on your dried beans and keeps it out of your soup. Beans are cleaned before packaging, but sometimes things slip through, and you don’t want to inadvertently eat a rock.

You may need to cook the soup longer (and add more water) if your beans are older. Old beans take more time to rehydrate. If you used canned beans (rinsed, of course) instead of dry, the soup will be ready as soon as the barley pops open. This could reduce your cooking time.

Another variation would be to add a can of diced tomatoes and possibly some diced green chilies. The main flavors in this soup are chili powder and cumin, primary ingredients in taco seasoning. Anything that would go well with taco seasoning would also work well here. Get creative and see what your family likes.

Give this recipe a try and let me know in the comments how it worked out.

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