I posted this barley photo to Instagram a few ads ago, wondering what your thoughts are and a few of you replied with some major barley appreciation which makes me so happy! I love hearing what you guys think or get some tips.
This hearty vegetable barley soup is a recipe that I’ve wanted to share for so long as I absolutely adore barley. I just never got around to making it for the blog, well, photographing it. And then at the end of winter I thought I was too late to share it, thinking no one wants a fall/winter type of recipe when it’s warm out.
But here’s the thing:
It’s not warm everywhere. I know some of you guys even got some April snow action, but if we ignore the odd ways in which nature works, some of you are just now transitioning into colder weather.
And the other thing is that this barley soup is a year-round gem. Okay, I might skip it during the summer when cold soups are a better choice, but other than that it’s a perfect soup for anytime.
Taking all these reasons into consideration I knew I was being silly thinking I was posting this recipe too late. There is no such thing as “too late” when sharing a good recipe.
Imagine someone lovingly wrapping you in a warm, soft duvet. That cozy feeling you get and that sigh of relief and/or satisfaction you let out when it happens. That is how I feel when I eat this soup. It caresses my soul, really.
The soup is packed with vegetables, but all easily available. The base starts with some onion and garlic cooked in olive oil, followed by chopped potatoes, carrots, leeks, celery and parsley. These are cooked in a mixture of vegetable stock and diced tomatoes. The true heartiness comes from the barley that you add last. Then this beauty cooks for a little under an hour. In the end all that’s left to add are the beans, which I prefer to cook separately.
The soup is dense, but any liquid that is left is just asking for some bread-dipping, which is what I do. Is there anything more comforting that eating some fresh bread with soup?Print
Hearty vegetable barley soup
A soup perfect for dinner!
Comfortably serves 4 people.
- 195g (1 cup or 7 oz) barley
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
- 550g (1.2 pounds or 6 small potatoes), peeled and diced
- 2 medium-large carrots, sliced into disks (yield = 100g or 1 cup)
- 1 medium leek, trimmed, halved and sliced (yield = 180g or 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 thin celery rib/stalk, trimmed and sliced (yield = 120g or 1 cup)
- bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
- one 410g (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 720ml (3 cups) vegetable stock or water
- one 410g (14.5 oz) can beans (pinto/Borlotti or cannellini or a mix of both), rinsed
- For serving: fresh bread
- Place barley in a sieve and rinse under water. Transfer to a bowl, cover with 480ml (2 cups) water and let soak for 30 minutes. Meanwhile prepare all the vegetables.
- In a large pot (I use a 4 quart round Staub cocotte) heat olive oil over high heat. Add onions and cook until tender, a few minutes (some browning is okay). Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, just until aromatic, then toss in the potatoes, carrots, leeks, celery, parsley and salt. Stir the vegetables a few times and cook for about a minute, until the leeks get wilted a bit.
- Add the soaked barley along with the water, diced tomatoes and 3 cups vegetable stock. Stir until evenly distributed over the pot. Make sure all potatoes are submerged (if any are peeking out push them in with a spatula/spoon). Cover pot with lid and bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-high and cook, covered, for about 40-50 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and barley tender.
- Stir soup occasionally as it cooks and check to see if it’s simmering.
- Remove from heat and fold in the beans. Taste to see if the soup needs more salt or pepper. Sprinkle with some parsley (optional) and serve.
If the soup is too thick for your liking simply add more water or stock in the end and put it back on the stove just until it starts to simmer.
Instead of using canned beans, you can cook beans at home. Personally, I would cook beans separately and not with the soup, because the saucepan is crowded enough as it is. If you’re making this in a very large stockpot then you can try cooking the beans along with the rest of the vegetables.