In a small sauce pot combine water, vegetable broth and barley and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer, cover and cook for approximately 30 minutes.
While barley is cooking, in a dutch oven or other large pot, add olive oil, onion, carrot, garlic and thyme over a medium-high heat. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Next, add zucchini and sauté for another 5 minutes or so until softened. Once vegetables are softened, add chipotle chili, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans and spices including salt & pepper to the pot. By this time barley should have almost absorbed all the liquid. Add barley and remaining liquid to the pot with the vegetables. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
Let cook for at least another 15 minutes to fully cook barley and meld flavors. Can be served at this point or continue cooking on low heat for another 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The longer you cook it, the less liquid there will be as the barley will continue to absorb the liquid. Can also be made ahead of time and warmed up on the stove before serving. Like any chili, the flavors get better with time. Serve with grated cheddar cheese, avocado & plain yogurt as topping, if desired.