This hearty, filling, and wholesome vegetarian mushroom barley soup recipe is the perfect healthy option for a cold winter day.
Healthy mushroom barley soup
I wanted to share this super comforting soup recipe for everyone in search of nutritious lunch or dinner ideas.
This is basically my answer to those popular winter 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, do not let me stop you. I just prefer to combat that sluggish I’ve-eaten-way-too-many-holiday-cookies feeling with balanced meals like this healthy and nourishing mushroom barley soup recipe.
The recipe is really simple to make at home.
And it is ideal for cold weather days and evenings, when you want to pull the blankets up and stay in bed or bundle up next to a warm fireplace.
If you must venture outside in the cold, take comfort in knowing that a hot bowl of soup waits for you upon your return.
Also try this 5 ingredient Coconut Curry
Easy homemade mushroom soup
This is one of my favorite soup recipes, and I’ve been making it for years.
The initial push to create a mushroom barley soup recipe came after I was no longer able to buy a packaged version I’d loved in college, from the famous vegetarian Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York.
Their vegan mushroom barley soup was a comfort food staple for me when I was living in the dorms without access to an oven or stove. I would often eat it in my tiny closet of a dorm room, alongside whatever type of roll or bread I was able to get from the dining hall that day.
While this plant based dinner was not gourmet by any means, it was cozy, comforting, and extra delicious. And it was perfect for a girl living on her own for the first time who missed a healthy, home cooked meal.
Readers also love this Vegan Ramen Recipe
Mushroom barley soup recipe video
Watch the step by step recipe video above
Vegetarian mushroom barley soup ingredients
The recipe calls for vegetable broth, minced garlic, sliced mushrooms, onion, carrot, optional celery, pearl barley, salt, dried thyme, and rosemary.
I normally use white button mushrooms for the soup. Feel free to mix and match with porcini mushrooms, portabella mushrooms, maitake mushrooms, and oyster or king trumpet mushrooms.
You can also substitute rice for some or all of the barley if you prefer.
The celery is optional. However, I do not recommend omitting either the carrots or the onion, because these ingredients are vital to creating the flavor of the recipe.
Sometimes I will add black beans, white beans, or lentils for protein. Or you can throw in a handful of raw spinach, kale, or other green leafy vegetables for added nutrition.
With no eggs, heavy cream, or dairy, the soup is vegan as long as you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth or beef stock.
For a richer broth, add two tablespoons of butter, olive oil, or tahini. Or for a low fat, oil free, and low calorie soup recipe, it is still tasty if you skip this ingredient.
As I wrote in my Buffalo Chickpea Chili recipe, I like to use Trader Joes mirepoix vegetable blend when a recipe calls for diced onion, celery, and carrot. This trick means you are not left with a ton of extra celery. And it prevents your eyes from hurting and watering while chopping onions.
If you notice in the above recipe video that a few pieces of celery show up out of nowhere when I add the onion, this is the reason why.
The soup calls for fresh mushrooms. If you try swapping them with reconstituted dried mushrooms instead, be sure to report back with results.
Leftover mushrooms? Make homemade Mushroom Gravy
How to make the recipe
For added flavor if you wish, start by sautéing the onion and minced garlic in butter or oil. Cook for five minutes or until the onion begins to brown.
Combine all soup ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
Once the broth is boiling, cover the pot. Lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for one hour or until the carrots are soft.
For best results, it is important to continue cooking until the carrots are soft. If you stop while they are still somewhat crunchy, the soup will not be as flavorful.
Serve right away, ladling the mushroom barley soup into individual bowls.
If desired, garnish each bowl with a sprig of rosemary or a sprinkle of crispy fried onions or bacon bits. Many brands of bacon bits are surprisingly vegetarian.
Or let the contents of the pot cool before dividing into airtight containers and refrigerating leftovers. This soup tastes even better the next day.
Note: You can use a slow cooker, pressure cooker, or instant pot to make the soup instead of cooking it on the stove top if preferred.
Mushroom Barley Soup
- 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 butter, oil, or tahini, optional for a richer flavor
- 3/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 2 tsp salt
- If desired, sauté the onion and garlic in the butter 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.View Nutrition Facts
Have you made this recipe?
Tag @chocolatecoveredkatie on Instagram