Vegetable Barley Soup
Vegetable Barley Soup is a hearty dish that is made with barley, potatoes and vegetables for a filling and nourishing meal. This soup is easy to make and vegetarian and vegan friendly
What is Barley?
If you aren’t familiar with using Barley in your soups and stews your life is about to change. Not to sound dramatic, but it’s seriously delicious.
Barley is a cereal grain that has a slightly chewy texture and nutty taste. If you’ve ever used rice in soup before, using barley will give a similar taste and texture, but with more nutritional benefits. (100 grams of uncooked barley has over 17 grams of fiber in it!)
There are two main types of barley you’ll come across:
- Hulled Barley: this type of barley is considered a whole grain
- Pearl barley: this type of barley is stripped of it’s bran, so it’s not a whole grain
Both types are delicious and still have health benefits (similar to how you can use white rice or brown rice which is a whole grain) so you can use either type in this recipe.
Why you’ll love this vegetarian barley soup
- Easy to make: this vegetable barley soup is made with 10 simple ingredients that you throw into a pot. Plus it makes for an easy clean up.
- Customizable: you can add in any of your favourite vegetables to this recipe or customize it however you like.
- Crowd pleaser. Have a hungry crowd to feed? Double or triple the recipe and you have a healthy and easy meal that can feed a crowd.
- Meal prep & Freezer-friendly: You can meal prep this soup at the start of the week and keep it in the fridge for some easy meals. This soup is also freezer-friendly so you can freeze any leftovers to use another time.
Is barley soup good for you?
Yes! Vegetable Barley Soup is a very hearty and nutritious soup that is healthy and nutritious. The Barley will help keep you feeling full so you can enjoy this soup as a vegetarian meal.
Barley Soup ingredients
- Barley: you can use hulled barley or pearl barley. Both will taste great in this soup, it’s just a personal preference.
- Carrots: carrots are always delicious in a hearty soup. Grab a couple of large carrots to slice up.
- Celery: celery is often looked at as being bland, but it actually adds great flavour to soups.
- Onion: one regular yellow onion.
- Garlic: three or four cloves of garlic. Make sure to use fresh garlic, not powdered.
- Potato: one large russet potato or two small ones. You can also substitute for sweet potato if you prefer.
- Vegetable broth: I like to use low sodium vegetable broth so I can control how salty the soup is.
- Herbs de provence: this dried herb blend is made up of rosemary, thyme, oregano and marjarom. You can also use any of your favourite dried herbs like thyme or oregano instead.
- Bay leaves: dried bay leaves add a wonderful taste to the soup.
- Salt & pepper: to taste.
There are so many different vegetables you can add to this soup if you want to mix it up or just make it extra packed with veggies. Here are a few suggestions:
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- Chopped zucchini
- Green beans
- Edamame beans (I added 1/2 cup of edamame into this soup for some extra protein)
How to make Vegetable Barley Soup
Heat some olive oil in a pot on medium-high heat. Then add the onions and garlic and sautee for 2-3 minutes. Then add the chopped carrots, celery and potato to the pot and continue to sautee everything together for another 2 minutes.
Add the barley, herbs, bay leaves, salt, pepper and vegetable broth to the pot and stir everything together. Bring the soup to a boil then cover and let simmer on low for 45-60 minutes until the barley is tender.
Taste and adjust any seasoning if needed with some salt and pepper and serve.
Can I substitute the barley?
Yes. If you don’t have barley on hand or need to swap it out for a gluten-free option you can substitute it with any of the following:
- White rice
- Brown rice
- Farro (*not gluten-free)
- Orzo pasta (use a gluten-free orzo if needed)
Keep in mind if you substitute the barley of any of these other grains, you may also need to adjust the cooking time of the soup. Quinoa and Orzo will cook faster than rice or farro.
How to store this vegetable soup
Fridge: store any leftover Vegetable Barley Soup in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 7 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Freezer: Let the soup cool completely on the countertop, then transfer to a freezer-safe container and place in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let defrost on the countertop or on the defrost setting in the microwave.
Tips for making this vegetarian barley soup perfectly
- Let the vegetables sautee in the pan for a few minutes before adding the barley and the veggie broth. This process will start to caramelize the vegetables and add a lot of flavour to the soup.
- If you want the soup to cook faster, you can soak the barley in water overnight before making the soup. This will soften the barley and make it cook faster in the soup.
- Use hulled barley for a soup that is higher in fiber and nutrition, and pearl barley if you prefer a lighter taste.
- I recommend using low-sodium vegetable broth so you can add more salt as needed. (Some brands of vegetable broth I find to be overly salted)
More soup recipes to try
- Instant Pot Wild Rice Soup
- Vegetarian Cabbage Soup
- Weeknight Slow Cooker Lentil Soup
- Tuscan White Bean Soup
- Vegan Minestrone Soup
If you tried this Vegetable Barley Soup or any other recipe on the blog let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment/rating below! Be sure to follow along on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook for even more deliciousness!
Vegetable Barley Soup
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 60 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Boil
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
Vegetable barley soup is a hearty vegetarian soup made with barley, potatoes and vegetables for a filling and nourishing meal!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, diced
- 1 large celery stalk, diced
- 1 russet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 cup barley, rinsed and drained
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tsp Herbs De Province
- 2 bay leaves
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 cup peas or edamame beans (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium-high heat, then add the onions and garlic and sautee for 2-3 minutes.
- Next add the carrots, celery and potato and stir together, letting sautee for another 2 minutes.
- Add the barley, vegetable broth, herbs de province, bay leaves, salt and pepper and mix, bringing the mixture to a boil for 1 minute.
- Reduce the heat to low then cover and let simmer for 45-60 minutes until the barley is tender
- Optionally stir in some frozen peas or edamame beans and let cook in the soup for 5 minutes before serving.
Store leftovers in the fridge for 7 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If you want to quicken the cooking process, soak the barley in water overnight then drain and proceed with the recipe. This will soften the barley and cut the cooking time in half.
If you want the soup to cook faster, you can soak the barley in water overnight before making the soup. This will soften the barley and make it cook faster in the soup.
Use hulled barley for a soup that is higher in fiber and nutrition, and pearl barley if you prefer a lighter taste.
I recommend using low-sodium vegetable broth so you can add more salt as needed. (Some brands of vegetable broth I find to be overly salted)
- Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
- Calories: 250
- Sugar: 7g
- Fat: 5g
- Carbohydrates: 47g
- Fiber: 11g
- Protein: 9g
Keywords: barley soup, vegetarian barley soup, vegan barley soup, vegetable barley soup
Just finished making this soup and the flavour is amazing. The only thing is that the soup ended up being very thick so I added another cup of broth but it is still too thick.. much like a stew instead of a soup. I used pearl barley so I don’t know if that is the reason. I have only cooked with barley once before and the same thing happened so maybe I am doing something wrong. In any case, it still tastes amazing. I ended up adding green beans, green peas and corn to the recipe but no edamame as I didn’t have any on hand. The 4 stars are only because the soup looks nothing like your picture and is too thick.
Happy you enjoyed it Marnie! It’s likely because of the type of barley you’re using.
Can this be made in a crockpot? I would sauté the veggies first, of course.
Hi Lee, absolutely! Saute the veggies and then add everything to the crockpot for the day. You may need a bit more liquid if it’s simmering all day-if you find there isn’t enough soup liquid at the end you can always add in another cup or two of broth.