This soup is a favourite in our family, and we have been eating it for years. Pot barley is such a chewy, tasty addition, but the soup is still great if you don't have any.
This recipe allows you to cook the soup as you chop and add the ingredients in the order specified. Make sure it is bubbling the entire time, and you will be finished in 1 hour and 15 min instead of 2 hours.
If it gets too thick, add hot water, a cup at a time.
Bring broth, water, celery seed, bay leaves, rinsed peas and barley to a boil in a LARGE soup pot. Reduce to a simmer.
Dice and add potatoes, raise heat to high, once bubbling, lower heat again.
Chop onions and carrots, add to soup and raise heat to high, once boiling, lower heat again. Tip: I like to food process the onion alone into small pieces, then add carrots, and slowly process until the carrots are in larger pieces than the onion. Takes 45 seconds this way.
Add the sliced celery, parsley, basil, smoked paprika, vegan bacon bits and salt.
Cover and simmer on low for 15 more minutes. Total time since the peas started boiling should be at least 75 minutes.
Taste test, and if the peas are soft, serve in bowls, with salt, whole grain crackers, and freshly ground pepper.