Mushroom Barley Soup


Have you ever eaten barley before?  Putting it in soup is the most popular way to eat it and is the only way I’ve prepared it to be honest.

Well, actually it’s in beer too so you may have been eating it without even knowing it!  😉

Barley is a healthy high-fiber, high-protein whole grain.  It has an amazing 5 grams of fiber in just 1/4 cup!  It comes in a package like this or you can buy it in bulk at places like Whole Foods.

bobs-red-mill-pearl-barleyWhen it’s cooked, barley has a very mild nutty flavor, similar to brown rice.   It’s nice and soft when cooked and is a great comfort food.  It can either be cooked separately and added to the soup or cooked right in the soup.  I prefer the later method because it uses less pots and it soaks up the broth flavor as it cooks.

This recipe makes a lot of soup and I have found the barley continues to soak up the broth if you put any extra in the fridge.  So be prepared to add more if necessary.

Also, be sure to cut the carrots and celery very small, not the size you would cut for chicken noodle soup.   You want them to blend in not stand out.


This mushroom barley soup is a winner every time.  It’s just pure comfort food and pretty fool proof.  You really can’t make it wrong.  It’s been a steady part of our rotation for many years now.

TIP!  This recipe can easily be converted to vegetarian by using vegetable broth in place of the beef and chicken broths.


Mushroom Barley Soup



  • 1 cup pearl barley (I used Bob’s Red Mill Pearl Barley 30 oz)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 1 celery stalk, diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (8 oz pkg) mushrooms of choice, sliced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste (check for sodium in chicken broth if store bought before adding more)


  1. In a large stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally to see if more oil is needed to prevent sticking and burning.
  2. Add the garlic and stir – cook 30 seconds to 1 minute or until fragrant.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook until their liquid is released, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add both broths, water, vinegar, tomato paste, spices and bay leaf.
  5. Bring to a boil and immediately turn down to simmer.
  6. Add the barley and cook 45 minutes – 1 hour or until barley is tender.
  7. Remove the bay leaf and check for seasoning. Add more seasonings if necessary.
  8. Serve hot.

Recipe Source:
I used all organic ingredients when making this recipe, and hope you do too!  🙂

Be sure to check out our Pinterest board for more soup ideas!

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  1. Ummm, barley contains gluten just like wheat. It is NOT gluten-free.

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