Vegetable Barley Soup is a colorful, delicious and nutritious dish. A dish that Apronese thinks is simple and quick to cook, the ingredients to cook this dish are easy to find in the supermarket or in your own refrigerator.

Barley is good for health and makes you fuller longer when enjoying this dish. Try cooking this dish for the whole family when you have time, make sure you are surprised with its taste.

What is Barley?

There are a variety of ways to prepare barley. It is a short, chewy grain that can be used in soups, stews, salads, pilafs, and much more. It is usually found in the grain section of your grocery store, next to rice and beans.

A pearled barley is simply a barley husk that has been removed with some of the bran removed. Due to the small amount of gluten it contains, it is not considered a gluten-free food due to the gluten content.

Are There Any Substitutes for Barley?

This is possible if you’re not a fan of barley or you are unable to find it, or if you just want to use another grain, like farro or wheat berries, or even pasta. Some sort of small shape, like ditalini, would be awesome.

Is It Possible to Use Other Vegetables?

It is a great idea for you to use up any leftover vegetables in your fridge and freezer, as this vegetable barley soup is extremely versatile. If you want to use up odd and ends of vegetables from your refrigerator and freezer, then you should make this soup.

It was made with onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, carrots, potato, frozen green beans, frozen corn, and frozen peas, but you can also use any of these vegetables in place of any of these:

  • Celery (add in the beginning with onion)
  • Zucchini (add at the end with green beans and peas)
  • Spinach (add at the very end, stir in until wilted)
  • Mushrooms (add in the beginning with onion)
  • Cabbage (add in the beginning with carrots)
  • Kale (add mid-way, with potatoes)
  • Beans (kidney, chickpeas, cannellini, add mid-way with potatoes)

Broth Matters

In this soup, a lot of the flavor is conveyed by the vegetable broth, so it is important to make sure you choose a quality one, or one you know you like.

I always make my broth by using Better Than Bouillon soup base, a soup base that is full flavored and you can mix up whatever amount you need when cooking, without having leftovers.

Close up of a ladle full of Vegetable Barley Soup being held over the soup pot.

What Is the Yield of This Vegetable Barley Soup?

As the soup is mostly vegetable-based, I usually go with a slightly larger serving size because I find it to be a lot more filling than the two cups it makes. The recipe makes a whopping 12 cups, which I would consider to be about 6 large 2-cup servings.

Once the soup is finished, it will also be very thick, so you can increase the quantity of vegetable broth if you prefer it to be more brothy and the yield will be even higher.

Is It Possible to Freeze Vegetable Soup?

The soup freezes really well. Some people have noticed that potatoes change in texture slightly when frozen and defrosted, but that is not something I have noticed or something I have bothered with. Especially when it comes to a soup, I haven’t noticed it..

How Do You Serve Vegetable Barley Soup?

It is just right for this soup to be paired with a nice piece of buttered crusty bread that can be dipped in it! If you want to have more texture, choose something with a lot of texture, like a homemade no-knead bread, cornbread, or sour dough.

If you want a little melty goodness in your soup, I wouldn’t be against dropping a few cubes of Swiss cheese in it, so that it has a little more depth and flavor.

Close up side view of Vegetable Barley Soup in the soup pot

In case you have leftover barley from your previous meal, I highly recommend you make my Baked Barley with Mushrooms if you have the time!

Vegetable Barley Soup

The Healthy Vegetable Barley Soup is a nutritious, freezer-friendly recipe that is packed with colorful vegetables and filling pearled barley. It is a great recipe for the winter months!

Author: Beth

Prep Time: 5 mins/ Cook Time: 50 mins/ Total Time: 55 mins

Servings: 6 (2 cups each)


  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 1/2 lb. carrots (about 4) ($0.45)
  • 1 28oz. can diced tomatoes ($1.59)
  • 1 cup pearled barley ($0.89)
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano ($0.05)
  • freshly cracked black pepper ($0.05)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth ($0.78)
  • 1 russet potato (about 3/4 lb.) ($1.22)
  • 1 cup frozen green beans ($0.271)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn ($0.10)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas ($0.19)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice ($0.03)
  • 1 handful fresh parsley (optional garnish) ($0.20)


  • Put the onion and minced garlic into a large soup pot. Add the onion and garlic to the pot and pour in approximately five tablespoons of olive oil and sauté over medium heat for about five minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent.
  • While the onions are softening up in the soup pot, peel the carrots and dice them. Once the carrots have softened, add them, along with the canned diced tomatoes (with juices), barley, fresh basil, fresh oregano, some freshly cracked pepper, and some vegetable broth to the soup pot.
  • As soon as the broth reaches medium-high, turn up the heat, place a lid over the pot, and let the soup bring to a simmer. As soon as the broth reaches a simmer, turn down the heat to medium-low, and keep simmering the soup for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, with a lid on top.
  • During the cooking time of the soup, peel the potatoes and dice them into small cubes. Once the soup has simmered for about 40 minutes and the barley is almost tender, add the diced potatoes to the soup and simmer for another 10 minutes, until all the potatoes are tender.
  • If you wish to add the frozen green beans, corn, and peas to the prepared potato soup once it is tender, stir them together to combine. Continue cooking until the mixture is hot (about 5 minutes in a simmering soup).
  • As a final step, add the lemon juice to the soup and stir it to combine. Taste the soup and if necessary adjust the salt or pepper according to your preference. Serve the soup hot, garnished with fresh chopped parsley if you desire.


Serving: 2 cups ・ Calories: 277.37 kcal ・ Carbohydrates: 52.82 g ・ Protein: 7.43 g ・ Fat: 5.9 g ・ Sodium: 1180.28 mg ・ Fiber: 9.1 g

The nutritional values shown here are only estimates. Please see our nutrition disclaimer .


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Front view of a ladle full of Vegetable Barley Soup hovering over the pot full of soup.

How to Make Vegetable Barley Soup – Step by Step Photos

Diced onion and minced garlic in the soup pot

I would like to suggest that you cut one onion into bite-sized pieces, and mince two cloves of garlic.

Place the onions and garlic together in a large soup pot (mine is 6 quarts), along with two tablespoons of olive oil, and sauté over medium heat for about five minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent.

Broth being poured into soup pot with vegetables and barley

The onion and garlic should be cooking at the same time as the carrots, which are about 4 medium carrots in size.

The carrots should be added to the soup pot along with the diced tomatoes in a 28 ounce can (with the juices), pearled barley, a teaspoon of dried basil, a teaspoon of dried oregano, some freshly cracked pepper, and 6 cups of vegetable broth. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients.

Diced potatoes being poured into soup

Put the lid on the pot, turn up the heat to medium-high, and then bring the soup to a boiling point. After the soup has reached a boiling point, turn the heat down to medium-low, and simmer it for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the soup is simmering, peel and dice a russet potato into small cubes, approximately 1/2 inch in diameter. After simmering for 30 minutes, add the diced potato and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Frozen vegetables being poured into the soup

There should be some tenderness to the potatoes after simmering for ten minutes. To make the soup even tastier, add 1/2 cup frozen peas, 1/2 cup frozen corn, and 1 cup frozen green beans. Stir this into the soup and heat through (about five minutes).

Season finished vegetable barley soup

After you have stirred in 1 Tbsp of lemon juice, you can taste the soup and adjust the salt and pepper to your taste (I added a touch of pepper but no salt). After you have garnished with fresh chopped parsley, if you wish, serve the soup.

My mouth is watering as I read this delicious vegetable goodness! I am feeling all warm and cozy!

Vegetable Barley Soup is a dish that not only one person loves but many people love, because it is easy to eat, not boring, good for health and especially easy to make.

As far as Apronese can see, anyone can make this dish with the detailed recipe above. Don’t be afraid to try and share this recipe with more people.