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The Ultimate Vegetable Barley Soup (Recipe)

The Ultimate Vegetable Barley Soup (Recipe)


Am I the only one who’s excited for soup season? This vegetable barely soup is a perfect, filling meal. I like to make it on Sunday evenings and eat it for lunch during the busy workweek.

Vegetable barley is my favorite soup, though I’d never found a recipe that is much better than just making one up as you go before I came across this one. The reason, I’m sure, is because of the addition of two unconventional ingredients: dried mushroom powder and soy sauce. Both give the soup a richer flavor than most vegetable-based dishes can offer. This is the vegetarian soup to feed the meat eaters in your life!


Vegetable Barley Soup.



  • 1/4 Ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
  • 8 Sprigs fresh parsley, plus 3 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 4 Sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 Pounds leeks, white and light parts only, washed well and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 Carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 Ribs celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 Cup dry white wine
  • 2 Teaspoons soy sauce
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 Cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 Cup pearl barley
  • 1 Clove garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 1/2 Pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 Turnip, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 Cups chopped green cabbage
  • 1 Cup frozen peas
  • 1 Teaspoon lemon juice

Lemon-thyme butter (optional)

  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 3/4 Teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1/4 teaspoon juice
  • Pinch Salt

Herbed Croutons (optional)

  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 Teaspoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1 Teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 4 Slices hearty white sandwich bread, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


Lemon-Thyme Butter:
1. Make optional lemon-thyme butter: combine butter, thyme and lemon zest in a bowl.

Herbed Croutons:
1. In a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in parsley and thyme and cook for just about 20 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in bread and coat, stirring frequently, until the bread is a light golden brown, 5-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

1. Using a spice grinder, coffee grinder or microplane grater, grind the dried mushroom into a fine powder. Measure out 2 teaspoons of the powder, reserving the rest for a later use. Tie parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs and bay leaf together with kitchen twine.
2. In a large dutch oven over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in leeks, carrots, celery, wine, soy sauce and about 1 teaspoons of salt. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has evaporated and the celery has softened.
3. Pour 6 cups water and broth over soup. Add in mushroom powder, herb bundle and garlic. Turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for about 25 minutes, partially covered.
4. Add in potatoes, turnip and cabbage and return to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the barley, cabbage, potatoes and turnip are tender.
5. Remove from heat. Carefully remove herb bundle from soup. Add peas, lemon juice and minced parsley and stir; season with a little salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Serve with lemon-thyme butter and croutons on the side.

Recipe Credit: America’s Test Kitchen.

More Recipes:
Arugula, Almond & Grape Salad (Recipe)
Vegetarian “Tuna” Salad Sandwich
Fresh Tomato-Basil Soup

Read more: All recipes, Eating for Health, Entrees, Food, Side Dishes, Soups & Salads, Vegan, Vegetarian

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.


+ add your own
10:52PM PDT on Oct 15, 2013

Thank you

8:27PM PDT on Oct 4, 2013

Yum :) thanks

4:21PM PDT on Oct 4, 2013

Heck of a lot of leeks...otherwise sounds good.

10:26AM PDT on Oct 1, 2013


6:13AM PDT on Sep 30, 2013

thank you

12:59AM PDT on Sep 29, 2013

thanks for sharing

9:42PM PDT on Sep 28, 2013

I haven't bought barley for many years. I have now learnt that it's not all carbohydrate and fairly healthy. That soup sounds perfect for rainy, cold weather....

8:42PM PDT on Sep 26, 2013


11:19AM PDT on Sep 26, 2013


4:16AM PDT on Sep 26, 2013


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