Hearty vegetable barley soup

close view of thick barley soup with carrots, potatoes and tomatoes

5 from 1 reviews

A comforting one-pot meal that is easy to put together. Packed with vegetables, beans and hearty pearl barley. 


  • 1 cup (7 oz or 195 g) pearl barley
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 2 large carrots, halved and sliced into disks 
  • 1 medium leek, trimmed and thinly sliced 
  • 1 thin celery rib/stalk, finely chopped 
  • bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • about 1.2 pounds (550 g) potatoes, peeled and diced
  • one 14.5 oz (400g) can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups (720 ml) vegetable stock 
  • one 14.5 oz (400 g) can of beans (I use a mix of canellini and cranberry beans), rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
  • pepper, to taste 


  1. Place barley in a sieve and rinse it thoroughly under water. Transfer it to a bowl, cover with 2 cups (480ml) of water and let soak for 30 minutes. Meanwhile prepare all the vegetables. 
  2. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until tender (takes a few minutes, some browning is okay). Toss in the carrots, leeks, and celery. Cook until leeks are softened, then add the garlic, potatoes and parsley. Stir the vegetables a few times and cook for about a minute, until the garlic is aromatic. 
  3. Add the soaked barley along with the water, diced tomatoes and 3 cups vegetable stock. Stir until evenly distributed and make sure all potatoes are submerged. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook covered for about 40-50 minutes, until the potatoes are soft and barley tender.
  4. Stir soup occasionally as it cooks and check to see if it’s simmering.
  5. Turn off the heat and fold in the beans. Taste to see if the soup needs more salt or pepper. Sprinkle with some parsley (optional) and serve.


1) 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.

If you’ve added too much water or stock and want to thicken the soup, let it cook over low heat until some of the liquid cooks down and thickens. 

2) Cranberry beans are more commonly known as borlotti beans in Europe. 

Instead of using canned beans, you can cook beans at home. Personally, I would cook beans separately and not with the soup, because the beans will probably need more cooking time, even when soaked overnight.

Tools: Staub cocotte | wooden spoon 

Keywords: vegetarian, affordable recipes, barley soup