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Mushroom Barley Soup

Hearty, filling, and wholesome mushroom barley soup – it’s perfect for a cold winter’s day, and really easy to make!

healthy mushroom soup

I wanted to start the new year with this super comforting soup recipe, for anyone who feels right now like you’ve eaten way too much sugar and are craving wholesome food to nourish your body.

This is basically my answer to those popular detox cleanses where the only thing you’re allowed to consume is green juice or honey water with cayenne pepper.

If you do like cleanses, don’t let me stop you; but as I mention in my Chocolate Covered Katie Anorexic post, they’re not something I really believe in, and I prefer to combat that sluggish I’ve-eaten-way-too-many-cookies feeling with balanced meals like this healthy and nourishing mushroom barley soup.

It’s also the ideal recipe for this cold weather we’re currently stuck with in the Northeast and everywhere else with temperatures in the single digits (I see you, “feels like -3 degrees”) that makes you want to pull the blankets up and stay in bed.

If you must venture out, it can be nice to know there’s a hot bowl of homemade soup waiting for you upon your return.

mushroom barley soup

This is one of my favorite soup recipes, and I’ve been making it for years, sometimes adding beans or lentils, or substituting rice for the barley.

The initial push to create a mushroom barley soup recipe came after I was no longer able to buy a version I’d loved in college, from Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York.

Their mushroom barley soup was a comfort food staple for me when I was living in the dorms without access to an oven or stove, and I’d often eat it in my tiny closet of a dorm room (which I loved so much), alongside whatever type of roll or bread I was able to get from the dining hall that day.

While it wasn’t gourmet by any means, the meal was cozy, comforting, and extra delicious; perfect for a girl living on her own for the first time and missing a healthy, home-cooked meal.

(Watch me make the soup above)

 

As I wrote in the Buffalo Chickpea Chili recipe, I like to use Trader Joes mirepoix vegetable blend whenever a recipe calls for onion, celery, and carrot, because this way you aren’t left with a ton of extra celery, and your eyes won’t hurt from chopping onions.

So if you notice in the above video that a few pieces of celery show up out of nowhere when I say to add the onion, this is why!

barley soup

mushroom soup

This is the ONE soup recipe I keep coming back to again and again, healthy mushroom barley soup

Also Try This Vegetarian Chili Recipe

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Mushroom Barley Soup

This healthy mushroom barley soup is the perfect meatless recipe for a cold or rainy day!
5/5 (8)
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 7 cups

Ingredients

  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 12 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups diced carrot
  • 1 cup diced celery, or additional carrot or onion
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley (rice will also work)
  • 2 tbsp buttery spread or tahini, optional for a richer flavor
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tsp salt

Instructions

  • If desired, sauté the onion and garlic in the buttery spread or oil first, 5 minutes or until the onion begins to brown. (This adds extra flavor, but you can skip this step and simply combine all ingredients at the same time if you want.) Combine all ingredients in a medium pot, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot and lower to a simmer for 1 hour. Or you can use a slow cooker if you’d prefer. The soup tastes much more flavorful the day after it’s made. Leftovers can also be frozen.
    Instant Pot Version: Cook the barley first (either in the instant pot or on the stove), then add everything to your instant pot and cook 3 minutes. Thanks to reader Jocelyn for creating this version and letting us know it works in an instant pot!
    View Nutrition Facts

Have you made this recipe?

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More Healthy Recipes For The New Year:

cauliflower pizza crust recipe

Cauliflower Pizza Crust – Just 5 Ingredients!

 

cheese ramen

Cheesy Ramen Noodle Bowls

 

chocolate peanut butter nice cream

Chocolate Peanut Butter Nice Cream

 

5/5 (8)

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Published on January 2, 2018

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32 Comments

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  1. K says

    This looks delicious! When using the Trader Joe’s mirepoix blend, do you just do 3 cups of the blend, or separate the blend by ingredient?

  2. Natasha says

    YES! I was hoping to see more savory meals, thanks so much for this!
    I love barley in soups so I’m definitely going to try this out.

  3. Jocelyn says

    Just made this for dinner tonight, since it was a perfect meal for a freezing night (in Texas!) Absolutely amazing soup! What a brilliant idea to saute the onion and garlic in tahini! I got a barley/lentil/split pea mix at the grocery store and pre-cooked that. Then, I added all the veggies and cooked barley mix into my Instant Pot and cooked for 3 minutes. Also added some bay leaves. Soup came out perfect and FULL of flavor! Thanks for a great recipe…I love when you do dinner ideas!

    • Jason Sanford says

      Thank you so much for reporting that it works in the instant pot! We’ll definitely make a note in the recipe so other readers with an instant pot can try it. I love mine and keep telling Katie that she needs to get one!

      Jason (media relations)

  4. Lon Zo says

    Happy New Year to one of America’s healthy eating national treasures.

    When I make this type of soup, I do it in The Instant Pot, and instead of barley, I use farro bc I like a bigger and chewier grain.

    Look forward to your coming year recipes and posts.

  5. Nigel Hutchinson says

    Just made this can’t wait to try it. Perfect for super cold weather here in Canada. Shout-outs from Toronto! P.S. the tahini doesn’t sautee well!

  6. Liz M. says

    This turned out delicious! We were ready to eat wholesome after the holidays and this soup, coupled with temps in the teens, was the perfect recipe to start with. I didn’t have broth on hand so I added an additional tablespoon of butter and that worked, but broth definitely would have added more flavor! This was so easy and filling, thanks for posting!

  7. Beth A Diamond says

    I want to sign up for your emails, but my system won’t let me. I hope you can you sign me up directly!

    • Jason Sanford says

      Hmm that is so weird! I just sent you a confirmation, so let me know if you don’t get it. And thank you!
      Jason (media relations)

  8. Laurie Hill says

    I made this soup last night and my husband and I both gave it 5 stars! It was easy and delicious!! I’ll definitely be making this again!

  9. Renée says

    Hi. How long do you suggest for this recipe using the crockpot ? P.s. I make your crockpot pecans all the timeand they were great holiday gifts for friends!

    • Jason Sanford says

      I think it would depend on the crockpot, but perhaps google “crockpot barley soup” or something like that to see how long similar recipes take, and go from there!

  10. Salima says

    This looks delicious, can’t wait to try! Does cooking time change if you go with white rice vs. brown or is one hour ok with either? I thought that white rice might get too mushy? Thanks!

  11. alex says

    made this but added cooked farro right before serving!! also, for those who are too lazy to mince garlic but want the taste of fresh garlic, I used dorot minced garlic cubes (bought from trader joe’s in the freezer section)! also, I made this without any oil/fat and it was still delicious, just cooked the onion and garlic in a bit of vegetable broth before adding the rest of the ingredients. soooo flavorful and good!

  12. Michele says

    This is the best soup ever!!! We all love it. I actually converted the recipe for the instant pot. Instead of cooking the barley ahead like indicated in your instructions, I added into the pot uncooked. It came out beautifully. I did sauté the onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms first. Seasoned the veggies. Then added the broth and the pearl barley uncooked. I used the soup button in the instant pot which defaulted to 30 minutes, let it release the stem naturally (about 10 minutes) the did a manual release. Quick and easy! I love all of your recipes. Thank you for posting.

  13. Mary says

    I used the same instant pot method as Michele above and it was delicious! I used mushroom broth instead of veggie broth. Whole family loved it. Thanks!

  14. Tiffany says

    This recipe should not fall under gluten free recipes as barley has gluten in it. As someone with celiacs disease this would make me extremely sick. I understand you can substitute rice for the barley, but it’s misleading to put this under the gluten free category.

    • Jason Sanford says

      Katie offers options for her recipes to make them suitable for as many people as possible. The gluten free tag means that there is a gluten free option, just like the sugar free tag means there’s a sugar free option. People following the gluten free option can easily make this recipe if using the gf option and it still works just as well. Hope that helps!

  15. Kayla says

    For making this in a slow cooker, how long do you think it should cook in there for? And should I bring it to a boil in the slow cooker before letting it simmer? Or just let it simmer for a long time?
    Thank you

  16. Christie says

    Haven’t tried yet but will. I was looking for a brothy soup like the one made at Stone Oven, a great cafe in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. I love your story about eating this in college and all the details. It really paints a picture and makes me want this comforting soup even more. It’s a cold April day in Cleveland, and this soup would really hit the spot! Thanks.

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