Simple Barley and Vegetable Soup

A simple vegan barley and vegetable soup. This easy and comforting soup is made with budget-friendly vegetables, including cabbage, carrots and frozen peas.

prep time

20 minutes

cook time

40 minutes

servings

6
simple barley and vegetable soup in a bowl seen from the top

This may not be the most creative or interesting soup out there, but it’s cozy, nutritious and made with simple ingredients, which makes it a go-to for me. Carrots, onions, cabbage and frozen peas are cheaper than most veggies out here and they can stay fresh for long periods of time when stored properly, making this a great option for longer stretches without groceries. It’s also a versatile recipe. Check out the ingredients and substitution notes below if you’re missing some of the ingredients.

I hope that you will enjoy this recipe and make it your own using what you have on hand!

Ingredients and Substitutions:

  • Olive oil: To sauté the vegetables. You can use your favorite cooking oil.
  • Onion and garlic: Shallots could work well too.
  • Carrots: Other vegetables could work.
  • Green cabbage: I did try this recipe with napa cabbage as well and it turned out great. Use the tougher parts of the napa cabbage. It will soften more than the green cabbage. Other types of cabbage could work, but keep in mind that purple cabbage will greatly affect the color of the soup.
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, dried thyme, rosemary, oregano and bay leaves. You can add more to taste or adjust the herbs to your liking.
  • Tomato paste: for more depth of flavor. You could omit it or add some canned diced or crushed tomatoes for a bit of tomato flavor, but the results won’t be the same.
  • Vegetable broth: I often keep vegetable bouillon powder or cubes around and use this at times. You can use either of those or liquid vegetable broth.
  • Barley: You can replace the barley with brown rice for a different texture.
  • Peas: Chickpeas could also work well.
  • Lemon juice: Or add a splash of white wine vinegar.
cabbage, carrots, barley, peas, onions and thyme on a board
barley and vegetable soup in a large saucepan seen from the top

How to Make a Simple Barley and Vegetable Soup:

Here are the steps to making a simple barley and vegetable soup at home.

  1. Sauté the vegetables

    Sauté onions and garlic for 5 minutes or until fragrant. Sprinkle with salt. Add the carrots and cabbage and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the thyme, rosemary, oregano, bay leaves and pepper. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, then add the tomato paste. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes.

  2. Cook

    Add the broth and barley. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or until the barley is cooked.

  3. Finish

    Stir in the peas and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Taste and adjust as needed.

More Soup Recipes:

simple vegetable and barley soup seen from the side

Simple Barley and Vegetable Soup

A simple vegan barley and vegetable soup. This easy and comforting soup is made with budget-friendly vegetables, including cabbage, carrots and frozen peas.
Course Soup
Cuisine vegan
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cups green cabbage, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • Squeeze of lemon juice

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or until fragrant. Sprinkle with salt.
  • Add the carrots and cabbage and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the thyme, rosemary, oregano, bay leaves and pepper. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, then add the tomato paste. Sauté for 2-3 minutes to let it darken and to deepen the flavor. Add the broth and barley. Stir together.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to low-medium heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the barley is cooked.
  • Stir in the peas and cook for another 5-10 minutes, or until softened. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Taste and adjust the salt, pepper and lemon as needed. Enjoy!

Notes

Storage: Store the soup in the fridge for up to 4 days, or transfer the cooled soup to airtight containers and keep in the freezer for a few months.
If you don’t have lemons, you can add 1/2-1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar to brighten the soup.

If you make this barley and vegetable soup, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! And if you try this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram!


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