Warm up with a bowl of thick, hearty Vegetable Barley Soup!
This delicious soup makes a scrumptious, stick-to-your-ribs meal that's loaded with healthy veggies. Best of all, it's super easy to prepare ... make a batch tonight!
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This recipe was originally published a couple years ago ... the recipe is still the same, but I've updated the post with additional tips and information.
If you're looking a hearty vegetable soup, then do I have a recipe for you!
This mouthwatering Vegetable Barley Soup has been a favorite ever since I first shared the recipe a few years ago. It gets rave reviews from anyone who tries it, and for good reason! It features rich Italian flavors, chewy barley, and it's loaded with veggies.
If you're looking for soup that will chase away the winter chill, then you're going to love this one. This flavorful soup is thick and comforting ... the perfect meal for combating cold weather.
Best of all, it's so easy to make, and most of the cooking time is hands off. Which makes it just as good for busy weeknights as it is for relaxed weekends.
Ready to try it for yourself? Keep reading for the recipe and lots of helpful tips!
This Veggie Barley Soup uses a combination of fresh and frozen vegetables, making easy to prepare. Here's what you'll need:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Fresh Veggies: Onions, Carrots, Celery, Garlic, and Mushrooms
- Frozen Veggies: Corn, Green Beans, and Peas
- Can Diced Tomatoes
- Can Chickpeas
- Pearl Barley
- Vegetable Broth - I make my own from Vegetable Bouillon (that way I always have some on hand).
- Dried Herbs: Basil, Oregano, and Bay Leaf
- Fresh Parsley
The tomatoes, basil, and oregano give this soup a yummy Italian-inspired flavor, and the combination of vegetables, chickpeas, and barley make it stick-to-your-ribs filling. As many readers have mentioned, you would never guess that it's 100% vegetarian + vegan!
Since it can be hard to find good quality vegetables in fall and winter, I kept things simple and used a combination of fresh and frozen veggies. Of course, if you have access to great produce, feel free to use all fresh vegetables instead.
You'll Also Need
Barley is a cereal grain that's tender, yet chewy when cooked. It's considered a whole grain, and it's rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Barley is not gluten-free. Look for it near the dried beans and rice in your grocery store.
There are different types of barley, but for this recipe, make sure to use pearl barley. If you use quick-cooking barley, it will be ready before your veggies are finished cooking.
Make this recipe your own by including your favorite ingredients. Other vegetables, such as zucchini, kale, spinach, cabbage, even cauliflower or potatoes can be added. You may also used different types of broth, or substitute other beans, such as kidney beans or white beans (or leave them out altogether). Try adding different herbs and spices, too ... a few readers have used Herbes de Provence, which sounds delish!
A couple tips: if you do make substitutions, try to keep the quantities of veggies about the same. And keep in mind that some vegetables take longer to cook than others. Add sturdy / root veggies along with the carrots, and quicker-cooking ones halfway through or just before serving.
Can I substitute the barley?
If you don't have any barley on hand, feel free to substitute another grain, such as white or brown rice, farro, quinoa, or millet. You could even use a short pasta (like ditalini or orzo) instead. Just keep in mind that the cooking time may also change (consult packages for estimated times).
How to Make Vegetable Barley Soup
This Old Fashioned Vegetable Barley Soup is the BEST, and it's also super simple to prepare. Here's how to do it!
You'll start by sautéing the onions, carrots, and celery in a little olive oil. After about five minutes, the veggies should start to become tender, and at that point, you'll turn up the heat and add the mushrooms.
Mushrooms contain lots of liquid so using a higher heat makes them cook faster. Once the mushrooms have browned, add the garlic and cook it just until its fragrant ... it should only take about 30 seconds or so.
Add the vegetable broth, chickpeas, tomatoes, green beans, barley, corn, and herbs to the veggies. Stir well.
Bring your soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue cooking the soup, stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender.
The best way to tell when barley is finished cooking is by tasting it. You'll know it's done when it's tender, but still chewy. It should take about 30 minutes to cook, although cooking times can vary.
To finish the soup, stir in the peas, then continue simmering until they're hot (about one to two minutes).
Remove the bay leaf, then stir in the fresh parsley and season the soup generously with salt and pepper to taste.
Tip: This soup is meant to be very thick, wholesome, and hearty. If you prefer thinner soup, just add an extra cup or two of broth as the soup cooks.
That's all there is to it ... your Vegetable and Barley Soup is ready to eat! Doesn't it look delicious?
And trust me, it tastes even better than it looks. This is one recipe your whole family is sure to love!
This Veggie Barley Soup recipe serves six to eight people. If you have leftovers, store the soup in an airtight container in your refrigerator, and it will keep for about four days. Barley does have a tendency to soak up liquids, so add extra broth if it becomes too thick while reheating on the stove or in the microwave.
Can you freeze Barley Soup?
Yes, this soup freezes great, and once frozen, will keep for one to two months. Make sure to freeze the soup in an airtight, freezer-friendly container or a zip top bag.
You can serve this tasty soup all on its own ... it makes a great one pot meal! It's also delicious paired with bread or crackers (try it with this unique Beer Bread, yummy Garlic Bread, or homemade Herb Crackers). A simple Kale Salad or a quick Chopped Salad would also make a great pairing!
Looking for more cozy soup recipes like this Barley Vegetable? Try one of these next:
- Mushroom Barley Soup
- Vegetable Soup
- Minestrone Soup
- Beer Cheese Soup
- Tomato Soup
- Lentil Soup
- Tomato Tortellini Soup
- Vegetable Stew
- Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Vegetable Barley Soup
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 large carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 large stalk celery, thinly sliced
- 1 (8-ounce) package mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups frozen cut green beans
- 1 cup pearl barley
- ⅔ cup frozen corn
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- ⅔ cup frozen peas
- ⅓ cup chopped Italian parsley, plus extra for serving
- kosher salt
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add onions, carrots, and celery to oil. Season with salt and pepper, then saute until softened (about 5 minutes).
- Increase heat to medium-high. Add mushrooms and cook until lightly browned, stirring frequently.
- Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
- Stir in broth, chickpeas, tomatoes, green beans, barley, corn, basil, oregano, and bay leaf.
- Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until barley is tender, stirring occasionally (about 30 minutes).
- Mix in peas and cook until tender and hot (about 1 to 2 minutes).
- Remove soup from heat. Discard bay leaf, then stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve soup hot, sprinkled with additional parsley. Enjoy!