While completely vegan-friendly, this hearty mushroom barley soup recipe has a beefy flavor that satisfies even the biggest meat eaters!
Everybody knows by now how much I love soup, but it especially hits the spot on a cold day. On snowy days here in Michigan, a hearty bowl of soup is just what my soul needs. This Mushroom Barley Soup has been a favorite of mine for lunches throughout the week. Naturally vegan and vegetarian, it’s easy to make on a Sunday, then enjoy all week long!
- Dried shiitake mushrooms: Having a strong umami flavor, once rehydrated they also have a meaty texture. Mushrooms are a great source of vitamins and antioxidants. You could also use fresh mushrooms, but the flavor won’t be as strong.
- Olive oil: A mild flavored, heart-healthy oil to sauté the vegetables and mushroom before adding the broth.
- Carrots: Slightly sweet in flavor, they stay a bit more firm in texture, and are a fantastic source of vitamin C.
- Onion: I use a white onion to add mild, slightly sweet flavor as it sautés.
- Celery: Very mild flavor, a bit of crunchy texture, and a great source of vitamins, calcium, and potassium.
- White mushrooms: White button mushrooms are very mild in flavor, but caramelize nicely to increase the flavor of the soup while adding additional nutrients. You could also use baby bellas.
- Barley: I use pearl barley as it has a faster cook time, and it’s a great source of iron, fiber, and magnesium.
- Broth: To keep the dish vegan and vegetarian, use vegetable broth. Otherwise, I’ll often use chicken or beef stock.
How to Make Mushroom Barley Soup
Start your mushroom barley soup by putting your dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl and covering them with hot water. Cover and set aside.
Then dice your celery, carrots, and onion.
In the bottom of a large soup pot, heat the olive oil and add the diced veggies along with the sliced white mushrooms. Sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and sauté until vegetables have softened and begin to caramelize.
Once shiitake mushrooms have softened, strain them, saving about 1 1/2 cups of the mushroom water to add to the soup pot.
Roughly slice the softened mushrooms before adding to the pot.
Add your chicken or vegetable broth and bring to a boil, then add the barley. Bring back to a boil before reducing the heat and simmering for about 45 minutes.
Check for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper as desired. Serve garnished with fresh parsley, and enjoy your Mushroom Barley Soup!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have to cook barley before putting it in soup?
The barley will cook while the soup simmers, so there is no need to cook it ahead of time.
Does pearl barley require soaking?
Hulled barley will cook quicker if it is soaked, pearl barley already cooks quickly and doesn’t need to be soaked.
Does barley thicken soup?
Because of the starch in barley, it will slightly thicken the broth.
More Meatless Soups
- Lebanese Lentil Soup with Greens
- Vegetable Soup
- Creamy Vegan Mushroom Wild Rice Soup
- Arabic Lentil Soup
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Eat It, LIke It, Share It!
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My Mushroom Barley Soup is great for dinner and using the leftovers for lunch the next day, or to meal prep at the start of the week. Even without the protein, it’s hearty and satisfying.
Your spoon is waiting.
Mushroom Barley Soup
- 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large carrots (peeled and diced)
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 2 stalks celery (diced)
- 1 pound white mushrooms (sliced)
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- minced parsley (optional garnish)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Place dried mushrooms in a medium bowl and cover with boiling water. Let steep to soften, about 15-20 minutes before straining, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the mushroom water. Roughly chop softened mushrooms and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large soup pot then add diced onions. Saute to begin softening, along with a pinch salt and pepper, for about 2-3 minutes before stirring in the diced carrots and celery. Season to taste again with another pinch salt and pepper.
- Stir in the reserved, chopped softened shiitake mushrooms and sauté another 2-3 minutes before adding the reserved mushroom water. Using a wooden spoon, be sure to scrape up and browned bits from the bottom of the pan before adding in the chicken broth and another pinch salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then add in the sliced white mushrooms and barley. Return to boil then reduce to low and let simmer 45 minutes or until barley is tender. Check for seasoning then adjust accordingly. Garnish with parsley to serve.