Root Vegetable, Barley and Spinach Soup

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We had this for dinner last week with some whole wheat challah. Yum.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 leeks, white part only, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1 bulb fennel, chopped
2 parsnip, chopped
1 cup barley
3 (32 ounce) boxes Imagine No-Chicken Broth (or a similar product)
1 teaspoon pepper
1 (8 ounce) bag spinach
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Grated parmesan or mozzarella cheese (optional)

In a large stockpot, heat the oil. Add the onion, leeks and garlic and cook until slightly softened. Add the celery, carrots, fennel and parsnip and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add barley and pareve chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, sprinkle in pepper and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add spinach and nutmeg and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Pass the cheese, if desired.

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