This hearty, filling, and wholesome vegetarian mushroom barley soup recipe is the perfect healthy option for a cold winter day. And it’s really simple to make at home.
Healthy mushroom barley soup
I wanted to share this super comforting mushroom barley soup recipe for everyone looking for nutritious lunch or dinner ideas.
This is basically my answer to those popular detox cleanses where the only thing you’re allowed to consume is green juice or honey water with cayenne pepper.
If you do like cleanses, don’t let me stop you. I just prefer to combat that sluggish I’ve-eaten-way-too-many-holiday-cookies feeling with balanced meals like this healthy and nourishing mushroom barley soup.
It’s also the ideal recipe for cold weather days and evenings, when you want to pull the blankets up and stay in bed or bundled up next to a warm fireplace.
If you must venture outside in the cold, it can be nice to know there’s a hot bowl of homemade soup waiting for you upon your return.
Also try this 5 ingredient Coconut Curry
Watch the mushroom barley soup video above
Easy homemade mushroom soup
This is one of my favorite soup recipes, and I’ve been making it for years.
Sometimes I’ll add black or white beans or lentils for protein, spinach or kale for added nutrition. Or I’ll substitute rice for the barley.
The initial push to create a mushroom barley soup recipe came after I was no longer able to buy a packaged version I’d loved in college, from the famous vegetarian Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York.
Their vegan mushroom barley soup was a comfort food staple for me when I was living in the dorms without access to an oven or stove. I’d often eat it in my tiny closet of a dorm room, alongside whatever type of roll or bread I was able to get from the dining hall that day.
While this plant based dinner wasn’t gourmet by any means, it was cozy, comforting, and extra delicious. And it was perfect for a girl living on her own for the first time who missed a healthy, home cooked meal.
Readers also love this Vegan Ramen Recipe
Vegetarian mushroom barley soup ingredients
The recipe calls for vegetable broth, garlic, sliced mushrooms, onion, carrot, optional celery, pearl barley, salt, dried thyme, and rosemary.
I normally use white button mushrooms. Feel free to mix and match with porcini mushrooms, portabella mushrooms, maitake mushrooms, and oyster or king trumpet mushrooms.
As I wrote in my Buffalo Chickpea Chili recipe, I like to use Trader Joes mirepoix vegetable blend when a recipe calls for diced onion, celery, and carrot. This way you aren’t left with a ton of extra celery, and your eyes won’t hurt from chopping onions.
If you notice in the above recipe video that a few pieces of celery show up out of nowhere when I add the onion, this is why!
Leftover mushrooms? Make homemade Mushroom Gravy
How to make the recipe
For added flavor if desired, start by sautéing the onion and minced garlic in butter or oil. Cook for five minutes or until the onion begins to brown.
Combine all soup ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, cover the pot. Lower to a simmer and cook for one hour or until carrots are soft.
Serve right away, or let cool before dividing into airtight containers and refrigerating leftovers. This soup tastes even better the next day.
*You can use a slow cooker, pressure cooker, or instant pot to make the soup instead of cooking it on the stove top if preferred.
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 12 oz sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 1/2 cups diced carrot
- 1 cup diced celery, or additional carrot or onion
- 1/2 cup pearl barley (rice will also work)
- 2 tbsp butter, oil, or tahini, optional for a richer flavor
- 3/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 2 tsp salt
If desired, sauté the onion and garlic in the butter or oil first, 5 minutes or until the onion begins to brown. (This adds extra flavor, but you can skip this step and simply combine all ingredients at the same time if you want.) Combine all ingredients in a medium pot, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot and lower to a simmer for 1 hour. Or you can use a slow cooker if you’d prefer. The soup tastes much more flavorful the day after it’s made. Leftovers can also be frozen.Instant Pot Version: Cook the barley first (either in the instant pot or on the stove), then add everything to your instant pot and cook 3 minutes.View Nutrition Facts