Warm up with a bowl of rich, hearty Mushroom Barley Soup … this delicious soup is a classic for a reason, and it’s the perfect treat on a cold fall or winter day!
This post contains affiliate links.
Fall is here, which means it’s officially soup weather … I for one couldn’t be happier!
There’s is just something so comforting about a big bowl of steaming hot soup, you know? And when it comes to comfort food classics, this Mushroom Barley Soup tops my list.
This wonderful brothy soup is simple, yet full of rich, deep flavors, and hearty, yet super healthy. Most important of all though, it’s delightfully delicious!
Have I tempted you yet? Then, add this yummy soup to your meal plan and keep reading for all the delicious details!
Mushroom Barley Soup
Mushroom Barley Soup is a classic for a reason. This recipe uses basic, healthy ingredients, yet it’s full of well-developed flavors. And the barley makes this nourishing soup super hearty, perfect for cold fall and winter days when you crave meals that stick to your ribs.
Are you a mushroom lover? Then, this tasty Barley soup is for you! My recipe uses two kinds of mushrooms, and their wonderful, earthy flavor permeates the soup.
With its amazing taste, would you be surprised to learn that this soup is meat free? Yup, it’s vegetarian and vegan.
I’m going to show you how to make this classic mushroom soup step-by-step. This recipe takes a while to cook, but it’s very easy and makes a lot. Serve this soup for a cozy get together, or make a batch on Sunday and enjoy it all week long. It also freezes well if you have leftovers.
You’re going to want to enjoy this soup all winter long, so let’s jump in!
Mushroom and Barley Soup Ingredients
This tasty Barley Soup is made with simple, healthy ingredients you’ll find in most any grocery store:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Dried Porcini Mushrooms
- Fresh Mushrooms
- Fresh Garlic
- Dried Thyme
- Vegetable Broth
- Pearl Barley
- Bay Leaves
- Fresh Parsley
This recipe calls for two types of mushrooms: dried porcini and fresh mushrooms. I used regular button mushrooms for the fresh, but feel free to use brown mushrooms, wild mushrooms, or a mix of your favorites.
Porcini mushrooms can be a little pricey, but do not skip them! They add so much flavor to this classic soup. I found them in my grocery store’s produce section (by the fresh mushrooms), but you can purchase them online if your store doesn’t have them. If you can’t find porcini, substitute another variety of dried mushroom (like shiitake).
Make sure to use pearl barley for this recipe, not quick-cooking barley (or any other variety). If you use quick-cooking barley, it will finish cooking before the veggies are tender, and the consistency and texture of your soup will be off.
You’ll Also Need
Besides these ingredients, you’ll need a couple kitchen tools. A fine mesh strainer is a must. Dried mushrooms are often gritty, and you’ll use the strainer to rinse the mushrooms, and to strain the mushroom soaking liquid. And of course, you’ll need a large soup pot. I used my favorite dutch oven … it’s perfect for everything from soups to pasta!
How to Make Mushroom Barley Soup
Let’s jump into the recipe, starting with its secret ingredient … dried porcini mushrooms.
These mushrooms are prized for their deep, earthy taste. This Mushroom and Barley Soup recipe uses both the reconstituted mushrooms and their soaking liquid, both of which add tons of flavor. If you cannot find dried porcini, try substituting dried shiitake mushrooms instead.
Dried mushrooms can be a little gritty / dirty, so start by rinsing the porcini. Then, place the mushrooms in a heatproof bowl, and cover them with 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Soak the mushrooms until they’ve softened and are cool enough to handle. It should take about 15 to 20 minutes, and you can start preparing the soup in the meantime.
When the mushrooms are ready, remove them from the bowl, making sure to save the mushroom soaking liquid. Squeeze the mushrooms over the bowl to collect any liquid that clings to them, then place them in a fine mesh strainer.
Rinse the mushrooms well to release any grit that’s clinging to them. Then squeeze them out again (no need to save this liquid). Give the mushrooms a quick chop and set them aside.
Next, you’ll strain the mushroom soaking liquid. Place a fine mesh strainer over a small bowl, then pour the liquid into it. I like to do this slowly … dirt tends to settle in the bottom, and if you notice it, you can just toss that little bit of liquid rather than straining it.
Set the strained mushroom soaking liquid aside, along with the reconstituted mushrooms … you’ll use them both later.
While the porcini are soaking, you’ll start preparing the soup.
Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot, then add the onions, carrots, and celery. Season these veggies with a little salt to begin building flavors.
Cook the vegetables just until the onions start to turn translucent around the edges. It should only take five minutes or so.
Crank up the heat to medium-high, then add the mushrooms to the pot.
As the mushrooms cook, they’ll release a lot of liquid. Cook the mushrooms and veggies, stirring frequently, until this liquid has completely evaporated.
Stir in the garlic, dried thyme, and little more salt next. Cook, stirring constantly, just until the garlic is fragrant … about 30 seconds.
Tip: Want extra flavor? Before adding the garlic and thyme, continue cooking the mushrooms until they’ve browned. As the mushrooms caramelize, they’ll become even richer tasting.
Next, add vegetable broth (I make mine from bouillon), pearl barley, and a couple bay leaves, plus the reserved porcini mushrooms and mushroom soaking liquid.
Simmer your soup until the barley is tender, but still chewy. It should take about 30 to 40 minutes.
To finish your soup, season it to taste with salt and fresh-cracked pepper, and stir in the chopped, fresh parsley. The flavors in this soup are super hearty, and the parsley really brightens it up … don’t skip it!
Don’t this Mushroom Barley Soup look delicious?
That deep, rich broth is heavenly … I could dive into a bowl right now. It’s total comfort food and the perfect soup for cold fall and winter days. And the best part is that it’s super healthy for you, too!
I like to make a batch of this soup on Sunday, then enjoy it all week long. It freezes great, too.
If you do have leftovers, then be aware that the soup thickens as it cools. You may need to add some extra vegetable broth to thin it out when reheating.
What to Serve with Barley Soup
This classic soup recipe is satisfying enough to serve on its own. If you’d like to round out the meal though, serve it with a salad, like this Quick Chopped Salad or this Kale Caesar Salad. It would also be delicious with thick slices of chewy bread for dipping, or even garlic bread … yum!
Are you looking for more classic soup recipes? Then, you’ll love these:
- Vegetable Barley Soup … so good, and my most popular recipe!
- Creamy Rosemary Potato Soup
- Tomato Soup with Garlic Croutons
- Easy Lentil Soup
- Creamy Wild Rice Soup
- Minestrone Soup
- Vegetable Stew with Dumplings
Warm up with a bowl of this rich, delicious Mushroom Barley Soup ... it's the perfect treat on a cold day!
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (or other dried mushrooms)
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 large carrots, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 large stalk celery, sliced (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 12 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Rinse porcini mushrooms with water, then place in a small, heatproof bowl. Cover with 1 1/2 cups boiling water.
When mushrooms have softened, remove them from the bowl, squeezing any liquid that clings to them back into the bowl (save this soaking liquid). Rinse mushrooms well to remove any grit. Squeeze water out of mushrooms (discarding it), then roughly chop the mushrooms.
Place fine mesh strainer over over a small bowl. Pour mushroom soaking liquid through strainer. Set liquid and mushrooms aside until ready to use.
While mushrooms are soaking, heat olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat.
When oil is hot, add onions, carrots, and celery. Season with salt, then saute until onions start to turn translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Turn heat up to medium-high, then add mushrooms. Saute, stirring often, until mushrooms are tender and any liquid they release has evaporated (about 10 minutes).
Stir in garlic and thyme, and season veggies with more salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant (about 30 seconds).
Add broth, barley, bay leaves, reserved porcini mushrooms, and mushroom soaking liquid to pot. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.
Cook soup uncovered until barley is tender, about 30 to 40 minutes. Stir in parsley, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve soup hot. Enjoy!