Vegetable Barley Soup is packed with vegetables and wholesome barley in a tomatoey broth for a combination that’s both healthful and soul-satisfying!
The inspiration behind this recipe:
One thing I love most about fall is that it’s also soup season! The soup-making process alone is therapeutic but slurping a steaming bowl of such goodness like this Vegetable Barley Soup is like giving your soul a warm hug.
A personal chef client left me a voicemail some years back about soup which I’ll never forget.
She had had a really bad day. One of the menu items I prepared for her on my last visit was soup. On the day she called, I recall the weather was cold, rainy and simply awful. Her voice cracked in the voicemail as she told me how much having that soup to come home to meant to her and then said, “It feels as though somebody loves me.”
Cue the tears on my end of the phone!
My clients tell me one of the reasons they need a personal chef is because they will go to the grocery store or farmer’s market and stock up on gorgeous produce with great intentions of eating healthfully all week. Life happens and by the end of the week, they end up with uneaten produce that’s not all that gorgeous anymore.
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but the same thing happens to us and I cook for a living! So, one Saturday night after a busy week, this veggie-packed Vegetable Barley Soup was born.
Is barley good for you?
Very. However, it is not gluten-free so you’ll want to use brown rice or quinoa in place of barley in this soup.
Hulled barley is considered a whole-grain while pearl barley is not because the fiber-rich outer hull has been removed. Barley has fiber, protein, thiamine, niacin, iron and many more nutrients!
Tips for making Vegetable Barley Soup:
- I prefer to cook the barley separately and add it to the soup at the end.
- To save a step, you may wish to cook the barley right in the soup. However, the barley will absorb some of the liquid and the starch will thicken the soup, so you may want to have some extra broth on hand.
- As with most soups, they taste better the next day after all the flavors have gotten to know each other. So, make a big pot of this Vegetable Barley Soup and reheat as needed.
- Freeze it or share it with a friend who needs some TLC.
Go forth and hug a soul!
More soul-hugging vegetable soups:
- Pumpkin Soup with Marsala and Mascarpone
- Spicy Kale, Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup with Bacon
- Green Minestrone with Radish Greens Pesto
- Creamy White Bean, Rutabaga and Roasted Garlic Soup
- Butternut Squash Soup with Thyme and Taleggio
- Spicy Italian Sausage, Whole Grain Penne and Vegetable Soup
- White Bean and Vegetable Soup with Artichokes
- Smoky Spanish Vegetable and White Bean Soup with Kale
Helpful tools and equipment (Affiliate Links):
- 1 cup pearled barley
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 3 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 1 small yellow squash, diced
- 1 bag (10-ounce) angel hair coleslaw (or approximately 3 cups finely shredded cabbage)
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 6 cups vegetable, chicken or beef broth (or more if needed)
- 2 cups tomato or vegetable juice
- 1 can (14.5-ounce) petite diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt to the water, add the barley and boil until the barley is tender but still al dente. Drain through a sieve and set aside.
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large pot.
- Add the onion, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often 5-6 minutes or until onion begins to soften.
- Add the celery and carrots and cook another 5-6 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook 2 minutes.
- Add zucchini, yellow squash, coleslaw mix, garlic, broth, juice, tomatoes and Italian seasoning.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover slightly and simmer until vegetables are tender approximately 25-30 minutes. Add the cooked barley, parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Adjust seasoning as desired.
For a gluten-free version, use quinoa or brown rice.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 197Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 360mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 7gSugar: 10gProtein: 7g
The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.