This healthy mushroom soup is loaded with vegetables and tender barley and full of flavor and texture. A hearty and satisfying vegetarian soup that’s the perfect comfort food for chilly days.
My favorite thing about the weather getting cooler is that it means it’s time for all the soups! There’s nothing like a big bowl of hot homemade soup to warm you right up on a cold day.
This mushroom barley soup recipe is super easy and can be made in the Instant Pot or on the stove top. This rich and flavorful soup is chock full of mushrooms, pearled barley and veggies in a super flavorful vegetable broth. A plant based hearty soup that meat lovers and vegetarians alike are sure to love.
- Fresh Mushrooms – I usually go with baby bella or white mushrooms. They’re easy to find in your grocery store and you can often find these varieties pre-sliced if you want to save a step in the recipe. You can most definitely experiment with different combinations of mushrooms like Shiitake or porcini. If you plan to incorporate dried mushrooms, be sure to soften them first by soaking in water.
- Pearl Barley – chewy barley gives this soup a lot of texture and a subtle nutty flavor. You want to make sure that you use pearl barley and not whole grain as the cooking time is much faster. I like Bob’s Red Mill.
- Onion, Carrots, Celery, Garlic – all of the aromatic veggies that make the base of a great soup!
- Soy Sauce – just a touch really brings out the umami flavor.
- Tomato Paste – a few tablespoons of tomato paste adds color and flavor.
- Bay Leaf
- Vegetable Stock – I use veggie broth to keep the dish vegan, beef broth is also a great option.
- Fresh Herbs – thyme is critical and fresh is preferred, but you can substitute dried. Fresh parsley and chives for garnish are highly recommended.
- Olive oil or butter – I tend to go with olive oil to keep this soup vegan but butter works great too!
This easy recipe can be made in a pressure cooker or on the stove top. Your choice!
Dice the onion, carrot and celery and mince the garlic. Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth or paper towel and slice into ¼ inch slices. Rinse the barley in cold water.
Turn on the saute function on your electric pressure cooker and heat olive oil or butter. Sauté onions, carrots and celery for 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent and the veggies begin to soften. Add in the garlic, season with salt and black pepper and cook for another minute until fragrant.
Add in the mushrooms. At first, it will look like a lot but they will cook down, releasing the moisture and decreasing in volume. Sauté the mushrooms for another 4-5 minutes making sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. This will also help ensure that you do not get a burn notice while pressure cooking.
Stir in the rinsed barley, tomato paste, soy sauce, vegetable broth, fresh thyme and bay leaf.
Manually set to high pressure for 20 minutes and allow for natural pressure release for 10-15 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and chives and serve in big bowls with crusty bread.
To make this delicious mushroom barley soup on the stove top, start by dicing the veggies and slicing the mushrooms.
Heat olive oil or butter over medium-high heat in a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven. Follow the same steps as above for the veggies. Add the remaining ingredients and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 40-45 minutes until the barley is tender.
Storing and freezing
This soup is best stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Let it cool to room temperature before storing.
Mushroom Barley Soup freezes beautifully! To freeze, let it come to room temperature before adding to freezer safe containers. Thaw in the fridge or gently reheat frozen soup in a saucepan.
This soup does thicken as it sits as the barley absorbs more liquid over time. To thin it out, add a bit more broth or just enjoy a thicker soup!
Yes. If you would like to add meat, I suggest adding pre-cooked tender chunks of beef or chicken to the soup when it’s done cooking.
Yes. Beef stock works just as well.
Yes. Hulled or pot barley is the most common form of the whole grain where just the outer husk is removed but the bran remains intact. It takes longer to cook so you will have to increase the cooking time. This recipe calls for pearl barley, which has the husk and the bran layer removed. Pearl barley is not considered a whole grain but still has many nutritional benefits.
Yes. Brown rice has about the same cook time. You can also substitute farro or wheat berries and adjust the simmering time as needed.
Yes. This soup freezes beautifully!
What to serve with mushroom barley soup
- Good crusty bread or garlic bread.
- Grilled cheese or panini sandwiches.
- A simple green salad.
More cozy soup recipes you will love
- Instant Pot Chicken and Brown Rice Soup
- Spicy Black Bean Soup
- Vegetable Orzo Soup
- Creamy Potato, Leek and Cauliflower Soup
- Hearty Lentil Soup
- White Bean, Sausage and Kale Soup
- Red Kuri Squash Soup with Roasted Fennel
- Caribbean Carrot Ginger Soup
Mushroom Barley Soup – Instant Pot or Stovetop
- 1 pound white mushrooms or baby bella
- 1 large yellow onion or white onion
- 2 celery ribs
- 3 medium carrots
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ cup pearl barley rinsed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 4 cups vegetable broth or beef broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme or substitute 1 teaspoon dried
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- fresh parsley and chives for garnish
- Dice the onion, carrot and celery and mince the garlic. Slice the mushrooms into quarter inch thick slices.
- Rinse the barley in cold water.
- Turn on the sauté function and heat olive oil or butter. Sauté onions, carrots and celery for 3-4 minutes until onions are translucent and veggies are slightly softened. Add in garlic, salt and pepper and cook for another minute until garlic is fragrant.
- Add the mushrooms and sauté for another 4-5 minutes until the liquid releases and the volume is significantly reduced. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
- Stir in the rinsed barley, tomato paste, soy sauce, fresh chopped thyme, bay leave and broth.
- Set electric pressure cooker to 20 minutes on high pressure and allow to natural release for 10 minutes. Carefully release the remaining pressure and open the lid away from your face.
- Add more salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and chives and serve.
- Heat olive oil or butter in a large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven.
- Sauté diced onion, carrot and celery for 3-4 minutes until onions are translucent and veggies begin to soften. Add salt, pepper and garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Add sliced mushrooms and cook for another 4-5 minutes until the liquid releases and the volume is significantly reduced. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
- Add in the remaining ingredients and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 40-45 minutes until the barley is tender.
This is a really yummy, hearty, meatless meal. The tomato paste and soy sauce add a nice depth of flavor. My husband doesn’t love thyme, so I used half the amount, and it was a perfect compromise. Also, my supermarket was out of barley, so I subbed farro. It works and tastes basically the same as barley in case anyone else is facing a barley shortage!
Amazing. I’m so glad you tried it with farro!