In a large pot, place the black-eyed peas, split peas, pearl barley, and water and simmer until the beans are tender, about 45 minutes.
In a skillet heat the olive oil (or other liquid). Add the onions and saute, covered, 10 minutes or until the onions begin to brown. Turn off the heat under the onions and pour about 1/2 C of the bean cooking water into the skillet and mix well.
When the beans are cooked, add the onions and all the other ingredients to the bean pot and cook another 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Serve in large soup bowls with generous servings of fresh whole wheat or black bread.
From _High_Road_To_Health_, by Lindsey Wagner and Ariane Spade.