Nothing says fall to me more than a hearty soup or stew made in the crock pot!
This is a bean & barley vegetable soup made with a 16 oz bag of Trader Joe's "17 Bean & Barley Mix."
Soak the beans over night or quick soak according to the directions on the bag. Rinse the beans thoroughly and set aside. Meanwhile, saute a diced mix of celery (3-4 stalks), carrots (a cup), and onion (about half a large, red or white) in a little EVOO. Add salt, pepper, and dried Italian seasoning. Add a large chopped clove of garlic and cook until the vegetables start to soften up.
In a large crock pot, pour a 32 oz container of your favorite stock (I used vegetable) and a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes. Add the rinsed beans and cooked veggies. I also added one raw sliced zucchini squash. Add a couple of bay leaves for flavoring which you will pick out at the end. Do not eat the bay leaves!
Cook on high for at least 6 hours or low for 10 hours. Check the doneness of your beans! When the beans are done cooked pasta can be added to your soup, if desired.
Serve with crusty bread!