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!
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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:
- Veggies - Because it can be hard to find good quality vegetables in fall and winter, this recipe uses a combination of fresh veggies (onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and mushrooms) and frozen veggies (corn, green beans, and peas), plus a can of diced tomatoes. Of course, if you have access to great produce, feel free to use all fresh vegetables instead.
- Barley - 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.
- Chickpeas - A can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) adds a boost of protein and makes the soup extra hearty.
- Herbs - This recipe used a combination of dried and fresh herbs. You'll need dried basil, oregano, and bay leaf, as well as fresh parsley. The parsley is added at the very end, and it really brightens up the soup's flavor.
- Broth - I prefer to make my own both from Vegetable Bouillon. That way I always have some on hand.
- Olive Oil - You'll sauté the fresh veggie in extra virgin olive oil
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!
You'll Also Need
This recipe makes a lot of soup, so be sure use a large stock or soup pot to prepare it. I used my favorite Calphalon Dutch Oven, and it worked great. A large Le Creuset Dutch Oven would also be perfect.
How to Make Vegetable Barley Soup
This Old Fashioned Vegetable Barley Soup is the BEST, and it's also super simple to prepare. You'll find a detailed recipe card below, but here's an overview of the steps:
- Sauté fresh veggies. You'll start by sautéing the onions, carrots, and celery in a little olive oil. When they start to become tender, turn up the heat and add the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms until they've browned, then add the garlic and cook it just until its fragrant ... it should only take about 30 seconds or so.
- Add broth, frozen veggies, beans, barley, and herbs. Next, you'll add the vegetable broth, chickpeas, tomatoes, green beans, barley, corn, and herbs to the veggies. Bring your soup to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue cooking the soup, stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender. Tip: 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.
- Mix in peas + parsley. 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!
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.
This Barley Vegetable 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.
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, Green Salad, or a quick Chopped Salad would also make a great pairing!
Looking for more cozy soup ideas? Try one of these delicious recipes next:
- Mushroom Barley Soup
- Vegetable Soup
- Minestrone Soup
- Beer Cheese Soup
- Creamy Tomato Soup
- Lentil Vegetable Soup
- Tomato Tortellini Soup
- Vegetable Stew
- Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
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.
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).
Yes, you can freeze Vegetable Barley Soup. Let it cool, then transfer it to a freezer-friendly container (or zip top bag). Freeze for up to two months.
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 / 227 gram) package mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 1 (15.5-ounce / 439 gram) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 (14.5-ounce / 411 gram) 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!