Simple and delicious mushroom barley soup is low in fat, but rich in flavour. With only 6 ingredients required this earthy, umami, bowl of goodness is a must try. Plus, I’ve got directions for both stove top or your hands off Instant Pot.
This recipe was originally published in December 2019. It has been updated for content and photos.
Mushrooms are high up on the list of my favourite foods and if you love mushrooms like I do, you’re going to LOVE this soup.
PS. If you’re a big soup fan, check out this collection of the BEST vegan soup recipes.
Why you’ll love it
- Filling, flavourful and easy to make! Plus a hands off Instant Pot option.
- Just 6 ingredients needed, with simple prep.
- Surprisingly healthy! Barley is an excellent source of fiber and B group vitamins. As an added bonus, barley is filling, yet low in calories to keep you feeling full longer.
How to make it
(This is a summary with step by step photos, full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Gather your ingredients: butter (optional), mushrooms, pot barley, garlic, shallots, and vegetable broth.
Melt the butter (if using) and add the sliced mushrooms, shallots and garlic to your pot and sauté until reduced. (photos 1-2)
Then add the broth and barley and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and cook until the barley is tender, approx. 40-45 minutes. (photos 3-4)
NOTE: Keep the lid on your pot, but slightly askew. Don’t cook without the lid, or too much of the broth will evaporate.
Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Then serve your mushroom barley soup sprinkled with fresh parsley, chives, red pepper flakes or vegan parmesan cheese.
Pot barley has only the outermost, inedible husk removed. Pearl barley is more refined with the husk removed and then polished, which strips some of its nutrition.
You may, but it cooks faster, so reduce cook time to approx. 25-30 minutes for stove top and 20 minutes for Instant Pot.
Barley is not gluten free, so if you need a gluten free option, you may sub for quinoa, reducing the cook time to about 12-15 minutes. Or you may replace the barley with brown rice keeping cook time the same.
Store leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days. Since the barley will continue to absorb some broth as it sits, you may need to add a splash more when reheating.
Yes, this soup freezes very well. Use a freezer safe, air tight container and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge and reheat on stove top, adding more broth, if needed.
- Cook your soup with the lid on but slightly askew. Cooking without the lid will cause too much of the broth to evaporate. Barley has a long cook time, so it will appear like a lot of liquid at first, but the barley will absorb more and more as it cooks.
- For no oil, use water or broth to sauté the veggies.
- If time permits, you may add more veggies to the sauté step. Chopped carrots and celery would make great additions. Or add some baby spinach to the very end of cooking, if desired.
More healthy soups
- Healthy Broccoli Potato Soup
- Slow Cooker Vegetable Pot Pie Stew
- Thai Peanut Chickpea Soup
- Potato Leek Soup
- Veggie Soup with Quinoa
- Pasta e Fagioli
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- 1 tablespoon vegan butter or margarine skip for oil free and saute in water or broth instead
- 2 shallots finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms sliced
- 1 cup pot barley or hulled barley
- 8 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- salt + pepper to taste
Stove Top Instructions
- Melt the butter, if using, in a medium pot. Then add the shallots, garlic, and sliced mushrooms. Sauté until reduced, approx. 5-6 minutes, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Add the broth and barley, and bring to a boil with the lid on your pot, but slightly askew. Cook over medium/high heat until the barley is tender, approx. 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once cooked, add a little more salt and pepper, if needed, and serve garnished with fresh parsley or red pepper flakes, if desired.
Instant Pot Instructions
- Set your Instant Pot to the sauté function and add the butter to melt, if using. Add the shallots, garlic and sliced mushrooms and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Sauté until reduced, approx. 5-6 minutes.
- Add the broth and the barley and close the lid. Make sure you set the valve to the sealing position and set to high pressure for 22 minutes. It will take about 10-15 minutes to build pressure and begin counting down.
- Once the timer is complete, quick release the steam valve and open the lid once safe to do so. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed and serve garnished with fresh parsley or red pepper flakes.