This vegetable barley soup is filled with corn, beans, carrots, tomatoes and many more flavorful vegetables and savory herbs. It's a nutrient-packed, satisfying meal in a bowl!
What is Barley?
Barley grows as a grass that produces a high fiber grain on its stalk. It's a very heart healthy food choice because it is known to lower blood pressure and help control cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It contains 8 essential amino acids, B vitamins, and minerals including phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc. It's recommended by the American Heart Association as part of a heart-healthy diet.
Vegetable Soups Were Popular in Mid Century
Soups were a popular mid century meal because they were cost effective and could be stretched to feed several people up to a few days. If it was available, beef or chicken could be added, but it wasn't necessary. A vegetable and grain packed soup like this one made for a healthy, filling, family pleasing meal that was extremely cost effective for the mid century cook.
Use Your Favorite Veggies in Vegetable Barley Soup
Chop and add whatever vegetables you have on hand -- there are no set rules for vegetable soup so use your favorites! My favorite recipe is on the recipe below, but you can add and subtract vegetables as you like. For instance, here are some other ingredients you might want to try:
- Cubed sweet potato
- Chopped bell pepper
- Butternut squash
- Chopped broccoli
- Chopped cauliflower
- Frozen mixed vegetables
Adding about ½ to 1 cup of three or four vegetables should be plenty for your soup.
This Recipe Makes A Lot of Soup!
You will end up with 8-10 cups of vegetable soup with this recipe. You can store it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, but you can also freeze it to have later if you prefer. Place it in an airtight container or put individual portions in freezer bags, and when you need a quick meal cook it in a pot on the stovetop for a few minutes until hot. Meanwhile, pop some French bread or rolls in the oven and you'll be all set.
Make it a Beef Barley Soup if You Prefer
If you are not aiming for a vegetarian or vegan meal, you can easily convert this to a beef barley soup recipe. If you have leftover beef from a previous meal, such as pot roast or steak, feel free to chop that up and toss it in. But if you need to buy some beef, choose a pound of stewing beef such as short ribs or chuck. Then follow these steps to convert your recipe to beef barley soup:
- First, cube the beef and brown it in the olive oil with the vegetables in step one.
- Second, replace the vegetable broth with beef broth. However, you may want to use low sodium beef broth or eliminate the additional salt to cut down on the sodium.
- Third, to tenderize the meat, increase the cooking time in step 3 from 30 to 50 minutes.
Serve with a loaf of hot French bread, and you've got yourself a delicious, healthy and filling meal!
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Vegetable Barley Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 2 carrots chopped
- 1 stalk sliced celery
- 28 oz. can diced tomatoes undrained
- ½ teaspoon basil
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 cups vegetable broth 64 oz.
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 1 russet potato
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup frozen corn
- ½ cup frozen cut green beans
- ½ cup frozen peas
- Heat olive oil over medium-low heat until warm. Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Sauté over low heat for 5 minutes or until onion is translucent.
- Add diced tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme and bay leaf. Continue cooking on low for 5 more minutes.
- Add vegetable broth, barley, potato, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then turn heat down to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes.
- Add frozen corn, beans, and peas. Turn heat up to medium and bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Serve hot with a side of French bread.