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mushroom barley soup vegetarian
Photo credit Shannon Sarna

How to Make Vegetarian Mushroom Barley Soup

This meat-free masterpiece doesn’t require any complicated ingredients or cooking techniques, yet produces a hearty soup that will feed your belly and soul. Serve with crusty bread and a fresh salad for a perfect weeknight meal, or as an appetizer for a special dinner or Shabbat. 

  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8


  • 8 cups water or vegetable stock (I use a combination of half stock and half water)
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 46 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (optional)
  • 2 medium carrots, diced fine
  • 2 celery ribs, diced fine
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a medium-large pot, heat the 8 cups of liquid (I use 4 cups of water and 4 cups of boxed vegetable stock) over low-medium flame. Once liquid has heated to a low simmer, add barley, the dried bay leaf and cover.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil + 2 Tbsp butter (if using) in a medium-large saute pan or skillet. Cook carrots, celery and onion until soft and translucent, around 7-10 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add all the vegetables into broth and barley. 
  4. Add another Tbsp olive oil to the pan and cook one third of the mushrooms until slightly caramelized on each side, around 3 minutes each side. Season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms to the broth.
  5. Repeat with remaining mushrooms in two additional batches.
  6. Add all the mushrooms and soy sauce to the soup, and allow to simmer for 30 minutes, or until the soup has thickened to your liking. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Author: Shannon Sarna
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Ashkenazi