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Granny’s Vegetable Barley Soup

Granny’s Vegetable Barley Soup

Imagine an iron pot hanging over an open fire, bubbling with this hearty, fragrant soup, so similar to the ones many of our ancestors used to make. It offers plenty of simple, healthful whole-grain and vegetable nutrition, and only needs a salad and a loaf of bread and maybe a wedge of good cheese to complete the meal.

This is the kind of nourishment, ease, and simplicity we crave in winter: many a Wise Woman knew how to make a steaming pot of Granny’s Vegetable Barley Soup to keep the cold away.


1 onion, diced
Inner stalks and leaves of a head of celery, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
2 1/2 quarts good-quality vegetable broth or water
1 cup barley
1 bay leaf
2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and chopped
2 carrots, scrubbed and chopped
1 large can (30 ounces) tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with juice
1 1/2 cups seasonal greens–kale, chard, collards–coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt to taste

1. In a large soup pot, saute the onion and celery in oil until tender and starting to brown. Add broth or water and bring to a boil.

2. Rinse barley under running water and then add to boiling soup stock. Add bay leaf and simmer one hour, until barley is tender.

3. Add potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, and tomato juice to soup. Simmer about 1 hour until vegetables are very soft. Add more water if necessary.

4. Just before serving, add greens and basil, cooking until greens are just tender. Add salt to taste.

Serves 10 to 12.

Read more: Food, All recipes, Soups & Salads

Adapted from The Findhorn Book of Vegetarian Recipes, by Kay Lynne Sherman (Findhorn Press, 2003). Copyright (c) 2003 by Kay Lynne Sherman. Reprinted by permission of Findhorn Press.
Adapted from The Findhorn Book of Vegetarian Recipes, by Kay Lynne Sherman (Findhorn Press, 2003).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


+ add your own
5:48PM PST on Jan 19, 2013

Sounds tasty thanks for sharing :)

3:37PM PST on Jan 18, 2013

I will make this adding parsnips and green capsicum and leaving out the seasonal greens. Thanks :)

8:26AM PDT on May 5, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

7:17AM PDT on Mar 25, 2012


1:25PM PST on Nov 22, 2011

Thank you

12:36AM PDT on Aug 4, 2011

Yummy! Love the recipe. Thanks.

12:33AM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

Thanks for the article.

12:34AM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

Thank you!

3:08AM PDT on May 4, 2010

I love Asian noodle soups but even the rice noodle soups have gluten in the soup package. So hard to find something completely gluten free that I love eating. Check this one though

12:24AM PST on Feb 3, 2010


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