Vegetable Soup with Barley
Brothy and chock full of complex carbohydrates, Vegetable Soup with Barley makes for a comforting and yummy-in-your-tummy lunch or dinner. It’s also great to serve family and friends who are omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans.
Or, just hungry.
What makes a soup vegan?
Vegan Soup Recipes
Not all vegetarian soups are vegan. You may remember our previous discussion about veganism being a subset of vegetarianism. It excludes animal-derived proteins and products, so no meat, eggs, or dairy products like butter and cheese.
If you are a regular soup-maker, you may immediately think of three potential issues with vegan soup recipes: roux, creaminess, and protein source. However, I assure you there is no cause for alarm. These can all be made vegan without too much upset.
- Roux is the butter and flour combo that gets cooked together and to which broth is added. It is used to thicken gravies, sauces, and soups like bisques and chowders. Because roux requires equal amounts of fat and flour it is easy to swap out butter and use olive oil or coconut oil instead.
- Creamy soups often contain milk, cheese, or another dairy to achieve maximum creaminess. But alternatives like coconut milk, pureed vegetables, and nut butter bring a velvety lusciousness to soups.
- For a dose of non-animal protein, look to beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas, or tofu as easy adds to your bowl of bliss.
Other protein sources? Whole grains.
Barley is a cereal grain that is grown all over the world and is a staple in many cultures. It’s mild and slightly nutty, like most childhood best friends. While it doesn’t contain as much protein as kamut or quinoa, barley is still a good source of plant-based protein that also provides fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
There are two types of barley: hulled and pearl. The difference? Hulled barley is a whole grain with just the outer husk removed while pearl barley is technically not a whole grain because the outer husk and bran layer have been removed.
This soup contains pearl barley, which is easier to find in grocery stores and cooks more quickly than hulled. Use hulled barley if you’d prefer, just be sure to adjust cooking times.
- Don’t be afraid of the rutabagas in the soup. They aren’t as common as other vegetables and you may have never had them before but they are worth trying. The taste: a cross between potato and carrot.
- This is a great clean-out-your-fridge kind of soup. Sub in other veggies for the ones listed here.
- If you are making this soup a day ahead, cook the barley separately and add it to the soup just before serving. Barley continues to absorb water and will suck up all the broth in your soup if you leave it overnight. To store leftover soup, separate the solids from the broth (I know, kind of a pain) otherwise prepared to be okay with whatever you get the next day.
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup peeled and chopped rutabaga
- 1 cup quartered mushrooms
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Heat oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, rutabaga, mushrooms, and garlic to the pot and saute for 5 minutes. Add the fennel seeds, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes until the spices become fragrant.
- Tip in the barley and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 40-ish minutes until the barley is tender but still chewy. Follow the package directions if you are making the soup a day ahead and cooking the barley separately. Add the barley to the soup the day you are serving it.
- Serve the soup by ladling it into bowls and garnishing it with chopped parsley.
Keywords: vegetable soup with barley