Recipe of the Week | Vegetable Barley Soup

Vegetable Barley Soup | Photo Credit Randolph Graham


This is a hearty vegan soup that is as tasty as it is easy to prepare. Even better than that, barley is a wholesome, highly nutritious grain and is thought to be an excellent food choice for those concerned about type-2 diabetes. It contains essential vitamins (niacin & thiamine) and minerals (iron, magnesium, zinc) and is an excellent source of dietary fiber. For those of us that watch our cholesterol, it is naturally cholesterol free and low in fat.

When I first made this for my wife many years ago, I remember her reaction. She said, “I don’t really like barley or at least I didn’t until now”. I think you’ll appreciate its nutty flavor and pleasant chewy texture.



1½ tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onions

3 cloves garlic (minced)

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

1 pound fresh mushrooms

2/3 cup pearl barley

2 stalks celery (sliced)

2 large carrots (sliced)

½ bay leaf

5 cups vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

Dash of nutmeg



Sauté onions in a large soup pot on medium-high heat for approximately five minutes. Clean, remove stems and cut mushrooms into quarters. Add garlic, thyme and mushrooms. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for another ten minutes. Add barley, celery, carrots, bay leaf and broth. Taste this base and if it is a little watery or not just tasty enough, add a teaspoon of vegetarian “Better Than Bouillon” to perk it up.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 30 – 35 minutes or until barley is tender.

Add nutmeg and salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf before serving.



Chef Randy’s latest book: Ojai Valley Grill It Cookbook: vegetarian and vegan recipes and tips for successful grilling with color photoon Sale at AMAZON

For additional recipes, see Chef Randy’s website at

Chef Randy has been a vegetarian for over 40 years and eats local and organic grain, fresh fruit, and vegetables as much as possible. He is known locally as the “Healthy Chef.” His column, Chef Randy, is syndicated in California newspapers. See his website at for more recipes.

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