Vegetable Barley Soup

There aren’t many things as nurturing and comforting as a warm, hearty bowl of soup. Sharing soup recipes, or better yet, making soup for those you love, is an easy way to make the world a better place (one happy tummy at a time).

So, you can only guess how delighted I was when I received a mason jar of home-made soup, lovingly placed on my desk at work! Sweet! A big thank you to my dear friend Rosanna for her thoughtful gift, and for sharing her story and soup recipe with us.

“My Mom came across this recipe in a cookbook called Knack-Make it Easy, Low Salt Cooking by Linda Johnson Larson. She made a big batch, and generously shared a couple of containers with me. It was so delicious and hearty that it became my favourite soup. I make it so often that I never make it the same way twice. I have modified the original recipe, adding my favourite variations. I tend to use pot barley for this recipe instead of pearl barley as I find it satisfies my hunger for a longer period of time. I also keep some canned items and frozen vegetables on hand (mentioned in the recipe) to make it quicker and easier to make. Included below are some of my flavour variations. I hope this recipe becomes a favourite of yours. Enjoy!

Vegetable Barley Soup (meat option included)

Serves 8


2 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

1 (8oz) pkg mushrooms, sliced (or 1 can – Success Organic Mushroom Pieces and Stems)

4 carrots, quartered lengthwise and chopped

3 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and chopped

1- 1.5 lbs of stew beef or chicken breast/thighs/legs (fat and/or skin removed) (optional)

1 bay leaf

Herb Options – (use A or B or use all herbs together)

A.  1 tsp each dried marjoram and dried thyme OR/

B.  1-2 tsp dried basil;  ½ tsp dried oregano; and 1 tbsp fresh ginger, sliced and cut into matchstick-like pieces (or minced)

6 – 8 cups broth or water and bouillon – (I use Organic Better Than Bouillon Chicken or Vegetable base that I get from Costco)

1.5 cups or half jar of Simply Natural Organic Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce (Costco) or canned, diced tomatoes

1 cup pot barley (or pearl barley) (rinsed)

1 cup frozen peas, thawed, rinsed (Organic peas from Costco)

1 cup fresh or frozen green beans, thawed and chopped

Vegetable Options: Sweet bell peppers, chopped zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, sugar snap peas, kale, spinach, corn.

¼ tsp pepper

1 tsp Salt or to taste


Heat oil in large pot.

Meat Option: Sauté 1- 1.5 lbs of stew beef or chicken breast/thighs/legs (fat and/or skin removed) until browned. Set aside.

Add onions, garlic, mushrooms, carrots and celery; cook and stir occasionally for about 10 – 15 minutes. Add bay leaf, marjoram, thyme or basil and oregano and ginger. Simmer 2 min.

Add broth/ water & bouillon, tomatoes, barley and meat if using. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover pot and cook 25-35min for pearl barley or 45-55 min for pot barley – stir occasionally and add water as needed. (Remove cooked chicken from pot, shred the meat with a couple of forks and transfer back to the pot.)

Add peas, green beans or any other vegetables of your choice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 5-10 minutes longer until vegetables are cooked and flavours are blended. Remove from heat, remove bay leaf and serve.

Yours in good health,

Caryn and Rosanna

(photo credit:

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