Heat oil in a medium soup pot and sauté the onions and garlic for 1 to 3 minutes. Add celery, vegetable stock, kidney beans, chili beans, thyme and sea salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the flame to medium-low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove half and puree in a blender. Add puree back to the pot. Add barley, leek, sweet corn and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil again. Reduce flame and simmer another 20 to 30 minutes until the barley is tender. Adjust seasoning, if desired. Serve hot, garnished with parsley.
Note: If using whole barley, soak overnight or 6 to 8 hours and simmer in the soaking water for about 1 hour or until slightly tender before adding remaining ingredients in the recipe.
Per serving - 220 calories, 3 g fat (12% calories from fat), 12 g protein, 37 g carbohydrate, 12 g fiber, 0 mg cholesterol, 307 mg sodium