Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (2024)

Published: · Modified: by Watch What U Eat · This post may contain affiliate links · 48 Comments

Recipe Print

Make nutritious and simple one-pot healthy vegetable barley soup for a wholesome lunch or dinner. A hearty soup that you can make with a few clean ingredients from your pantry.

Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (1)
Jump to:
  • Ingredients
  • Type of barley to use in soup
  • Recipe Variations
  • How to cook vegetable barley soup
  • Serving Suggestions!
  • Helpful tips!
  • How is this barley soup healthy?
  • How to store and reheat the barley soup
  • FAQs
  • 📖 Recipe

What can be more comforting than a warm bowl of soup during chilly winter nights?

I guess the soup will get the most votes for winter foods. Don’t you think so? When this soup is healthy, what else does our body need to fight the chilly temperatures outside?

Since I started writing this blog, I have become even pickier about what we eat. I started incorporating more whole grains instead of refined flour into our diet than before. This is what the healthy food pyramid suggests to have for a balanced diet. You can find recipes using whole grains, like one-pot Mexican brown rice, cilantro-lime quinoa, and whole wheat dinner rolls, to name a few on the website.

Initially, I made this whole grain barley soup spontaneously with ingredients that I had in my pantry at that time. We liked it so much that we decided to share this simple version of soup with you all. One bowl of this vegetable barley soup and dinner is done.

From a happy reader — “I love this recipe. It’s quick, easy, & healthy. My daughter approves, and she’s weirdly not even a soup person. I’ve made this a few times a year for the last several years.

Let’s get started!

Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (2)

Ingredients

This barley soup is filling and contains very simple ingredients that are common and readily available.

Vegetables – use fresh veggies like carrots, celery, green onion, and tomato. You can also use green peas, edamame beans, kale, etc., to make this soup richer in veggies.

Barley – Use whole-grain barley to make the soup filling and rich in fibers. Read more about the type of barley to use in soup below.

Broth/Stock – use chicken broth to add rich flavors to the soup. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can use vegetable broth instead.

Seasoning/Flavors/Spices – I used fresh garlic and ginger to add flavors to the soup. However, you can skip the ginger if you don’t like it. In addition, use thyme, salt, and black pepper to season the soup.

Type of barley to use in soup

There are two types of barley available in the market. One is hulled, and the other is pearl barley. Hulled barley is a whole grain with just the outer indigestible layer of the husk removed, while pearl barley is polished and free from the bran layer. The difference is similar between brown and white rice.

Also, pearl barley takes a little less time to cook than the whole one. And it is commonly available variety in grocery stores. Therefore, I prefer using pearl barley in making soups at home as it is easily available.

Avoid using quick cooking or instant barley when making this soup. It will cook faster than other veggies in the soup and will overcook and spoil its desired consistency.

Fact – Barley is not a gluten grain. Though it contains very little gluten, it can trigger allergies in gluten-sensitive people.

Recipe Variations

Make it richer in veggies. Use green peas, edamame beans, kale, mushrooms, etc., to enhance the nutrition in the soup.

Make it protein-rich. You can add cooked chicken (or leftover roasted chicken) towards the end of cooking. Or try this chicken barley soup recipe if you are not a vegetarian.

For a quick and easy meal, you can make this vegetable barley soup in Instant Pot.

Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (3)

How to cook vegetable barley soup

Step 1 – Sauté some fresh garlic and ginger in oil on medium heat. Then, cook onion until translucent for a couple of minutes.

Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (4)
Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (5)

Step 2 – Add diced carrot, celery, tomato, barley, and liquid (including broth and water) and thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring this mixture to a boil. Then cover and cook it on low heat until the barley is nice and tender.

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Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (7)

Step 3 – Finally, garnish with spring onions and serve warm.

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Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (9)

Readers’ Feedback – Some folks reported they did not like the ginger in the soup, while others absolutely loved using it. Therefore, using ginger in this soup is optional and depends on one’s personal preference.

Serving Suggestions!

  • A warm bowl of this soup is sufficient for a light lunch or dinner, and you can also serve toasted bread slices to dunk into it.
  • Make fresh whole wheat focaccia bread or easy dinner rolls to pair with the soup.

Helpful tips!

  • Cover the soup pot while cooking the barley soup on low heat. It will help cook the barley a little faster and also prevent the water from evaporating quickly.
  • Do not overcook the barley in the soup; otherwise, it will result in a slimy texture.
  • Keep extra chicken or veggie broth handy and add to the soup while cooking if necessary.

How is this barley soup healthy?

This barley soup is prepared using whole-grain barley and fresh vegetables like carrots, celery, and tomatoes. Therefore, it is loaded with nutrients from the veggies. Also, this soup is very low in saturated fat.

How to store and reheat the barley soup

Store leftover soup in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Leftover soup tends to dry up; therefore, before using it next time, add some chicken or veggie broth if necessary and bring the soup to boil on the stovetop. Serve while it is warm.
You can also heat the soup in the microwave for 2-3 min, depending upon the quantity. Again, add some broth before heating if necessary.

Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (10)

FAQs

Can I substitute the barley?

Yes. You can substitute barley with other whole grains like brown rice, millet, quinoa, etc. However, cooking times may vary depending on the grain type.

Is barley gluten-free?

No, barley is not a gluten-free grain. It contains very little gluten, which can be problematic for gluten-sensitive people.

Do you have to soak barley for soup?

There is no need to soak barley before using it in the soup, and I prefer cooking it directly to avoid the extra soaking step.

More soup recipes to try

  • Detox Broccoli Soup
  • One-Pot Healthy Potato Soup
  • 30-min Instant Pot Vegetarian Lentil Soup
  • Easy Vegetable Pasta Soup

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments if you REALLY like this recipe. Thank You!

📖 Recipe

Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (15)

Print Pin

4.29 from 63 votes

Healthy Vegetable Barley Soup

Homemade healthy barley soup recipe. A perfect option to add whole grains toyourdiet. Ready to enjoy in about 30 mins.

Course: Main Dish,Soup

Cuisine: American Inspired

Diet Low Fat,Vegan

Prep Time 10 minutes minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes minutes

Total Time 30 minutes minutes

Servings :4

Calories :320kcal

Author:Swati Kadam Gulati

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup pearl barley
  • 1 celery stalk diced into small pieces
  • 1 onion diced into small pieces
  • 1-2 medium carrot peeled and diced into small pieces
  • 1 tomato diced into small pieces
  • 2-3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 3 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth if vegan)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
  • ¼ cup chopped spring onions
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic and saute until fragrant for about 30-40 sec

  • Add onions and saute until lightly golden brown for about a min. or two

  • Then add all the remaining ingredients except spring onions and let it boil.

  • Simmer on low heat for about 30 min. or until the barley is tender

  • Garnish with spring onions and serve warm to enjoy a bowl of barley soup

Notes

  1. At the end of the cooking time mentioned test tastes the doneness of barley and cook a little longer if you need it more tender.
  2. If necessaryadd more chicken or vegetable broth.
  3. You can also make barley soup in Instant Pot. Follow this recipe to makeVegetable Barley Soup in Instant Pot

Nutrition

Calories: 320kcal

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Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (16)

About Watch What U Eat

We are Swati and Tushar, our passion for food and cooking has now led us to share some healthy, tasty recipes and the benefits of eating certain ingredients with the goal of inspiring you to eat well and live well.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (17)Stephanie says

    Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (18)
    Home Run!! Beautiful flavor. Thank you for sharing this recipe, It went immediately into my favorites file to make regularly.

    Reply

  2. Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (19)Susan says

    Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (20)
    I love this recipe. It’s quick, easy, & healthy. My daughter approves, and she’s weirdly not even a soup person. I’ve made this a few times a year for the last several years (would be more but see previous re weird child of mine).

    Reply

  3. Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (21)Tammara says

    I just made this soup in my rice cooker. Who knew barley was so delicious? No more canned soup, this will be in our permanent rotation.

    Reply

    • Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (22)Watch What U Eat says

      I am glad you liked it. Thank you for your encouraging feedback.

      Reply

  4. Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (23)Jenn says

    The ingredients list is missing something…. 1/2 cup of finely diced “what” into small pieces?

    Reply

    • Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (24)Watch What U Eat says

      Hi Jenn,

      Thank you for pointing it out. It should be carrot. I have corrected the recipe card now. Thanks again.

      Reply

  5. Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (25)Lpq says

    Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (26)
    I’m making this soup right now but suggest to commenters that’s it’s more helpful to provide comments when you’ve made the soup. Stating it looks like a good recipe or you’re excited to try it isn’t helpful to those of us making it. I welcome the suggestions of additions or changes but have to scroll through the comments to find them

    Reply

  6. Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (27)MamaUla says

    Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (28)
    This has been one of our favorite soup recipes since I first came across it a couple of years ago now. My eternally picky child loves the barley (as do I), and I appreciate how quickly this healthy & satisfying soup comes together – with or without the crusty bread (with, definitely with).

    Reply

  7. Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (29)Holly says

    Can this be made in crockpot for how many hours
    Thanks

    Reply

    • Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (30)Watch What U Eat says

      Hi Holly, I never tried it in the Crockpot. However, you can make it in the crockpot and I guess 4 hr cook will suffice. Let me know if you try it this way.

      Reply

  8. Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (31)Sheldon Ewers says

    Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (32)
    It was excellent. However, I did add Kielbasa to the soup which was delicious. I am not a vegetarian. The soup is amazing though.

    Reply

  9. Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (33)Stacey says

    Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (34)
    Tasty. The ginger brings it up a level. I add soy curls, so it is more like barley and chicken soup, without the chicken.

    Reply

  10. Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (35)Mia says

    This morning i made this soup, added peas, red chilli flakes for some heat. Simmered it a little longer 45 minutes, not slimy. Thicker more like stew but I quite enjoyed it, reheating perhaps I’ll add more vegetable broth. Absolutely love the portion size for a single person I wish more recipes were like that…will make this again.

    Reply

  11. Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (36)Tom says

    Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (37)
    Soup tastes great. 30 minutes is not long enough to cook barley – most instructions I see ask for 55-60 minutes and I ended up leaving the soup on for about that long.

    Trying it again tonight with mushrooms and peas.

    Reply

  12. Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (38)JoJo says

    Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (39)
    Always amazing!!!

    Reply

  13. Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (40)Vicki says

    Do I cook covered or uncovered

    Reply

    • Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (41)Watch What U Eat says

      Hi Vicki, cook the soup covered. It will help to cook it a little faster and water will not dry up while cooking. Thank you.

      Reply

  14. Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (42)LOUISE says

    Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (43)
    LOVE THIS BARLEY SOUP!

    Reply

  15. Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (44)Carolyn says

    Hi so while I thought this soup was delicious, my husband said it had a slimy like texture as if okra was added to it. Is that from the barley?

    Reply

    • Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (45)Watch What U Eat says

      Hi Carolyn. Yes, cooking barley for longer time gives a slightly slimy texture.

      Reply

  16. Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (46)Melissa says

    Can you really notice the ginger? 2/4 of us like a little ginger, and the other 2 don’t like it at all. Should be okay to just omit it yes?

    Reply

    • Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (47)Watch What U Eat says

      Hi Melissa, you can skip the ginger. Many readers made this soup without the ginger and they loved it.

      Reply

      • Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (48)Claudia Siefer says

        Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (49)
        I am a huge fan of ginger but not in this case. Great recipe. I add a dash of hot sauce once it’s served up. THANKS for this.

        Reply

  17. Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (50)Krisgren says

    Healthy Barley Soup Recipe (51)
    yessssss!! this is great, I love the ginger twist. This is excellent and healthy. I didn’t have tomatoes so I added some canned ones. I tripled the recipe for 5 people and that gave me enough for 2 meals, adding one to the freezer.

    Reply

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