4 tsp (20 ml) olive or canola oil

3 chicken breasts on the bone, skin and fat removed

2 onions, chopped

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 celery stalks with leaves, chopped

4 baby marrows, chopped

8 cups (2 litres) strong Rooibos tea

1 cup (250 ml) water

5 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 bay leaves

1 cup (250 ml) uncooked barley

¼ tsp (1,2 ml) salt

lemon juice and black pepper to taste

3 tbsp (45 ml) chopped fresh parsley


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot and fry chicken until brown. Spoon out.
  2. In the same pot, fry onions, carrots, celery and baby marrows until brown.
  3. Add chicken, tea, water, rosemary, bay leaves, barley and salt. Reduce the heat. Simmer with a lid for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
  4. Spoon out the chicken. Cook the soup for about 40-45 minutes or until the barely is soft.
  5. Meanwhile, debone chicken and shred the meat. Add back to the soup once the barley is cooked. Season well with lemon juice and pepper.
  6. Stir in the parsley and serve hot.

Serve this soup on its own and don’t be tempted to make bread part of this meal. The barley has enough carbs to make it filling. Rather bulk up by adding more green veggies to the soup if preferred – broccoli or spinach will be delicious.


  1. Avocado is also delicious served with this soup.

Recipe courtesy of the Cooking from the Heart, healthy cookbook series, which is funded by Pharma Dynamics and endorsed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of SA and the Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology.

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