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Catholic Recipe: Saint Antony of the Desert Soup


  • 3 tablespoons oil of choice
  • 1 cup barley
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • salt to taste
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 bouillon cube, if desired
  • chopped mushrooms, if desired


Serves: 4

Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Difficulty: • •

Cost: $$$$

For Ages:15+



Food Categories (2)


Feasts (1)

Saint Antony, called the Great, lived in Egypt between A.D. 251 and 356. At age 18, the gospel text "If you wish to be perfect, go and sell all that you have and then follow me" so moved him that he left everything behind and retired to an inaccessible place in the wilderness where he dedicated his life to God in manual work and continual prayer. In his old age, he imparted wisdom to his disciples and encouraged them to lead a monastic life. Because he was the first Christian to retire to a monastic life, he is considered to be the first monk and also the father of all monks. His feast is celebrated on January 17. Try this simple, healthy recipe in honor of Saint Antony the hermit.


1. Heat the oil in a soup pot and add the barley, stirring continuously for one minute. Immediately add the carrot, leeks, bay leaf, parsley, salt, and water.

2. Cook the soup over low to medium heat, covered, for 40 to 45 minutes, until the barley is tender. Add more water if needed. For extra taste, add the bouillon and the mushrooms during the last 20 minutes of simmering. Remove the bay leaf. Serve hot.

Recipe Source: From a Monastery Kitchen: The Classic Natural Foods Cookbook by Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette, Gramercy Books, 1997