Mushroom & Barley Soup

I think with the way this week has been going, we are all in need of a little extra comfort.

Whether it be from holding those we love close or from a nice, warm bowl of soup.

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And nothing says comfort like a satisfying, creamy soup with tender barley and savory mushrooms.


Besides being incredibly tasty, it is also full of Vitamin D from the mushrooms and milk; not to mention loads of other healthy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from the veggies and barley.

Who says eating healthy can’t taste good?

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Creamy Mushroom & Barley Soup

Click to Print this Recipe!

Inspired by Whole Foods Market

  • 1 cup pearl barley, uncooked
  • 1 ounce dried mushrooms (I used Porcini) + 1 cup hot water
  • 2 cups diced baby portobello mushrooms
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced (approx. 1.5 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf

Makes approximately 4 servings

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To start, bring 1 and 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add the barley and reduce to a simmer to cook for 15 to 20 minutes**.

**My cooking time is shortened because I soaked the barley overnight in 2 cups water and then drained it before cooking. If you don’t want to soak the barley, you will need to cook it in 2 cups water for about 35 to 45 minutes.

For the dried mushrooms, I used Porcini, but you could use any kind that you are able to find.

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Add the dried mushrooms to one cup hot water in a small bowl and allow to soak for at least 20 minutes.

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While they’re soaking, warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and sauté the garlic and onions for about three or four minutes, until translucent.

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Toss in the chopped kale and carrots and continue to sauté for about five more minutes.

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Then add the diced mushrooms along with the 1/2 teaspoon salt & pepper and sauté for another five minutes.

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Once the dried mushrooms are done soaking, you will need to separate them from the liquid in the bowl, which will yield about 1/2 cup liquid.

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After picking out any hard pieces from the soaked mushrooms, chop them up and add them to the pot.

Then add the bay leaf and pour in the 1/2 cup mushroom liquid, 4 cups vegetable broth, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 2 cups milk while stirring well to combine.

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Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes and then add in the cooked barley.

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Continue to simmer for at least 5 more minutes or until you are ready to serve.

Then sit down and allow the savory scent to waft (yes, I said waft) into your nose.

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This soup is so good, it will definitely keep you coming back for more!

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Speaking of soup, a cold front came in on Monday out of nowhere! The incredible weather we had over the weekend is gone by I have a feeling it will be back soon.

A few links of possible interest:

Barley- What is Barley?

4 Tasty Recipes That Use Mushrooms


Are you still having soup weather where you are?

What’s your favorite comfort meal?

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{ 13 comments… add one }

  • Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness April 17, 2013, 2:09 pm

    Oh I love WF’s mushroom barley soup. You’re so right Sarah, it’s perfect comfort food. Personally, I’ll eat soup and drink hot coffee year round, even if it’s 95 degrees out :)
    Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness recently posted…Color Me CladMy Profile

    • Sarah April 18, 2013, 12:11 pm

      I tried Whole Food’s soup a few weeks ago for the first time and loved it! They don’t have it very often at the one by me so I was determined to make my own. And I added kale because I’m a kale freak. :)

  • Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 17, 2013, 3:29 pm

    We’re definitely still having soup weather around here, and while I’d much prefer warmer weather to eating soup, this one looks delicious enough to make the cold weather bearable. Thanks for sharing!
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  • Dana April 18, 2013, 5:15 am

    This soup is gorgeous!! I would eat or ‘slurp’ the entire pot; it has every ingredient I love. I’m in Southern New Jersey, so it’s turning into Spring for sure, but slowly still because April is an odd month. It’s been rainy and cloudy and in the upper 50s. Looking forward to more sunshine and more warmth! I’m totally making this!

    I still have to go with Mac & Cheese as my favorite comfort food! Especially when it’s baked in the oven, topped with breadcrumbs. :)

    • Sarah April 18, 2013, 12:12 pm

      Ahhh, yes. Mac n cheese is the ultimate comfort food! :)

  • Kathy @ Food Wine Thyme April 18, 2013, 7:02 am

    I am such a lover of mushroom barley soup. It’s so comforting and satisfying. I can eat soup all the time. Looks delicious

  • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats April 18, 2013, 12:46 pm

    This soup looks so hearty and delicious!

    I’ve just bookmarked it. Thanks for sharing :)
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  • Sonia the Mexigarian April 18, 2013, 1:23 pm

    My, the soup does look comforting and filling. I don’t remember if I have barely in the pantry. But the soup would be perfect for the strange cold nights we’ve been having. I had to put socks on again since I was so chilly.

    Favorite comfort meal is classic frijoles y arroz. homemade by mom or grandma. with fresh tortillas.
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  • Nicole @ FruitnFitness April 18, 2013, 3:54 pm

    This sounds so good! One of my favorite soups is mushroom wild rice soup. There is just something so comforting about mushroom soup.
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  • Taylor @ greens & chocolate April 18, 2013, 5:32 pm

    This soup does look amazingly comforting! And bonus that it’s healthy!
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  • Melanie @ Beautifuly Nutty April 20, 2013, 6:47 am

    We are definitely having super weather around here still! It’s 30’s and there is a lot of snow on the ground. Although, I don’t mind having a hot bowl of chili in the middle of summer sometimes. Is that weird?
    My favorite comfort meals: french onion soup, chili, meatloaf, and lasagna!
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  • janet January 22, 2015, 5:48 am

    Looks delicious! I’m just curious…what is the benefit to using the dried mushrooms?

    • Sarah January 22, 2015, 6:05 am

      Hi Janet! Using the liquid that they soak in (as well as the rehydrated mushrooms themselves) adds more savory flavor to the soup. It’s a huge part of what makes it taste so good so I wouldn’t recommend skipping them. I hope you get a chance to try it!


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