A healthier spin on an old favorite
Mushroom Barley Soup has been a favorite for generations. The version I remember eating was loaded with delcious beef, mushrooms and barley. Basic but delcious.
This version of Mushroom Barley Soup is a vegan version if you use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. It’s still loaded with flavor even though the meat is missing. Loaded with meaty mushrooms, I promise you won’t miss the beef.
Scientists and nutritionists are finding mushrooms to be super healthy. They contain two antioxidants, ergothioneine and glutathione in abundance. These two antioxidants work together to shelter the body from the physiological stress that causes the body to age. Yes, mushrooms are good for wrinkles. But they also may protect your heart, brain and even bones from disease. So, who I am to argue?
I love that this Mushroom Barley Soup is the perfect way for me to add all that extra nutrition to a basic soup.
What mushrooms should be used for Mushroom Barley Soup
This recipe tastes great as written, using plain old white button mushrooms. But I like to use combination of mushrooms for this dish.
White button mushrooms and portobello mushrooms are the mushrooms I can easily find at my local grocery store, so that’s the combination that I normally use. But if I happen upon shiitake and/or oyster mushrooms, I’ll add those to the soup, too. The more variety the better.
Almost anything goes with mushrooms for me. I’ve even been known to add a couple teaspoons of powdered mushrooms to this soup. They’re supposed to be a great immune booster. I even add some to my morning coffee. The powdered mushrooms don’t change the taste of my morning coffee and they work great this soup. As far as boosting my immune system…too early to tell.
How to Make Mushroom Barley Soup
- In a large stock pot, saute mushrooms, onion, celery, and carrot in the olive using medium heat for about 7-10 minutes.
- Stir often until the mixture begins to soften.
- Add the garlic, thyme and bay leaves to the pot. Saute for another minute.
- Add in the chicken or vegetable stock, whichever you’re using.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a simmer.
- Add the barley to the pot, and cook until barley is tender–about 35–45 minutes is using regular barley or 10-12 minutes if using quick-cooking barley.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings.
- I find that the soup needs extra salt. I will often add about 1 teaspoon of chicken base for more depth of flavor or a vegetable bouillon cube.
- Because barley absorbs liquid easily, this soup will thicken the longer it sits. Just add a little extra broth or water to thin it before eating. Hopefully you won’t have to adjust the seasoning. If you do, stir in a pinch or two of seasoning salt to the pot.
Other Favorite Soup Recipes
Mushroom Barley Soup
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound mushrooms sliced (I use a combo of white button and portobello mushrooms)
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 1 medium carrot diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 48 ounces chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup pearled barley
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- SAUTE mushrooms, onion, celery, and carrot in the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat for 7-10 minutes. Stir often.
- ADD garlic, thyme and bay leaves to the pot. COOK for another minute.
- ADD the chicken/vegetable stock and bring to a BOIL.
- REDUCE heat to a simmer and ADD the barley. COOK for 35–45 minutes (or 10-12 minutes if using quick barley) until barley is tender.
- TASTE and ADJUST seasonings.