This Spicy Vegetable and Barley Soup is light, healthy, full of flavour and oh so filling. It really is a meal on its own. Perfect for either dinner or lunch, I love mine served with a small piece of garlic toast to dip in and soak up the tomato goodness.
Along with a tomato base, this soup has diced carrot, celery, potato, and pumpkin. To pump up the flavour, there is a combination of garlic, ginger, vegetable stock, soy sauce, basil, chilli and bay leaves.
Also there is the pearl barley and the cannellini beans.
What Is Pearl Barley
If you’ve never heard of pearl barley, it’s similar to brown rice in colour and shape. It expands a lot when you cook it so a little goes a long way. It’s also a natural thickener, perfect for soups and stews.
I used pearly barley in this chicken stew and it made for a thick luscious rich winter warmer. You can generally pick it up at your local supermarket in the aisle where the soups and lentils are.
With the cannellini beans, you don’t have to use these, but they do add an extra pop of protein to the dish. Equally you could add lentils or chickpeas.
You could even add meat protein such as shredded beef or cooked diced chicken.
Actually you might be forgiven for thinking that this is almost a stew. It probably could be. It’s filling and hearty like a stew, but a little more delicate as the vegetables are chopped quite small.
This soup freezes well too and makes for great leftovers. I often take it to work for lunch.
If you’re planning your meals for the week and sorting out your menu this soup is a good candidate as it will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, and in the freezer for 6 weeks. This Yellow Lentil Soup and Bacon and Split Pea Soup also freeze well for make ahead meals.
My Split Pea Soup with Bacon is also a great meal planning recipe. I make it in big batches regularly and freeze. It reheats easily and tastes just as good.
How To Freeze Soup
- Make sure you have freezer/microwaveable containers with a proper seal on them so that none of the liquid escapes in your freezer if one of them tips on the side before it freezes.
- Try to use clear plastic or glass containers if you can. It just makes it that much nicer being able to see what it is you’re pulling out of the freezer.
- Make sure to label your containers with the name of the recipe and the date you made it. Also helps to identify stuff you can throw out if its months down the track and you need to clear out some freezer space.
- Separate out your soup into dinner/lunch sized portions so it is easy to reheat and there is less chance of wastage
PRO TIP: If chopping up fresh vegetables for a soup is not your thing or if you’re just short on time, grab a bag of frozen diced veges and use those instead. Just make sure to blanch them in hot water before adding them to the soup. It’s a meal prepping shortcut!
I eat this Spicy Vegetable Barley Soup both in winter and in summer. Even my husband eats it for dinner and he is a no nonsense meat for dinner every night of the week kind of guy. But this, he likes, and he eats the leftovers.
Must be because its rich and filling, with lots of big bold flavours like you would find in a meat dish. That’s what I think and I’ve stashed that little secret up my sleeve for future meatless dinner adventures in the kitchen.
If you’re used to having meat for dinner every night of the week, and you’ve been thinking about introducing a “Meatless Mondays”, or you’re just looking for some more variety, this is a good one to introduce to your meal repertoire.
It can work with what you’ve already got and you don’t need anything fancy, just a pot. I’m not vegetarian, but sometimes I just don’t feel like meat. I want something filling with plant protein instead and, this one fits the bill perfectly.
Vegetable and Barley Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium brown onion - finely diced
- 1 tablespoons Garlic - crushed
- 2 carrots - cut into approx. 1cm pieces
- 2 celery sticks - cut into approx. 1cm pieces
- 1 cup potatoes - cut into approx. 1cm pieces
- 1 cup pumpkin - cut into approx. 1cm pieces
- 4 cups Vegetable stock/broth
- 400 g can Diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon Ginger - finely grated
- 2 tablespoons fresh Basil leaves - roughly chopped
- 2 fresh dried Bay leaves
- ½ cup Pearl barley
- ½ teaspoon Dried red chilli flakes
- 1 cup cannellini/butter beans
- Heat a large saucepan on high heat. Add the oil, onion and garlic. Cook until onion turns translucent.
- Reduce heat to a simmer, and add carrot, celery, potato, pumpkin, stock/broth, canned tomatoes, soy sauce, ginger, pearl barley, basil leaves. Cover with a lid and simmer for 45 minutes or until veges are soft.
- Remove and discard bay leaves and stir in the cannellini beans.
- Simmer, covered for another 30 minutes.
- Serve with lightly toasted garlic bread.
Note: Sugars contained in this recipe are from naturally occurring sugars in fruits, vegetables or other natural sweeteners.