An easy vegan Mushroom Barley Soup recipe with kale! It's so nourishing and satisfying. This simple meal is great for lunch or dinner on chilly days.
This Mushroom Barley Soup with fresh kale is such a simple, hearty soup.
We love to simmer up a large pot for a cozy lunch or dinner on chilly days.
Plus it's easy to make and very versatile!
Change up the seasonings and herbs as desired, or use your own favorite veggies.
Ingredients for Barley Soup
For this recipe you will simmer in a large pot:
- Yellow onion: Or you can use sweet onion or white onion instead.
- Fresh garlic cloves: Or you can substitute dried garlic powder if desired.
- Mushrooms: I use cremini mushrooms (baby bellas), but choose your own favorite variety or a combination. White button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, portobello, or even dried mushrooms like porcini mushrooms.
- Pearled barley: This has such a tender, hearty texture when you boil it, which is great for this cozy soup. Plus it contains plant-based protein and fiber.
- Vegetable broth: Be sure to use low sodium if desired.
- White wine vinegar: Or you can substitute apple cider vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar.
- Dried Italian seasoning: Be sure your pantry spices are fresh (not expired) for best flavor.
- Fresh kale: I use curly kale, but lacinato could work too. Or you can substitute fresh baby spinach instead.
Veggies: Add potatoes, leeks, green peas, rutabaga, zucchini, yellow summer squash, bell pepper, etc.
Gluten-free option: Barley is not a gluten-free grain. So if you are needing a gluten-free replacement, simply use whole grain brown rice or quinoa instead.
Herbs + spices: This recipe uses Italian seasonings, but change up the taste with your own favorites. Dried basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, sage, bay leaves, etc. Fresh parsley is a great garnish on top of your bowls as well.
Umami flavor: Before serving, you can also add tamari or soy sauce to taste. White miso is also a great addition.
Make it "meaty": Stir in your favorite vegan ground beef crumbles for extra heartiness as well. Cook these separately according to package instructions. Then stir in towards the end of cook time.
Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator. We find they keep well for about 4-5 days. Reheat in the microwave when ready to enjoy.
Instant Pot note: I have not tested this cooking method, but I'm guessing it would do very well in a pressure cooker. Simply sauté the veggies first, then I'd estimate about 20 minutes on high pressure.
For more inspiration, also browse all winter recipes or mushroom recipes.
Mushroom Barley Soup with Kale
- 1 yellow onion
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 10 oz. mushrooms (I use cremini)
- 1/2 cup pearled barley
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning (or basil, oregano, etc.)
- 1-2 cups kale, chopped (or spinach)
- Salt/pepper to taste
- Prepare veggies: dice onion, carrot, and celery. Slice mushrooms.
- In a stockpot over medium-high heat, sauté onion for 7-8 minutes. (I use 3 Tbsp. veggie broth/water for no-oil sauté method, adding more as needed.)
- Meanwhile, mince garlic.
- When onion is translucent, add garlic and Italian seasoning. Stir and sauté 1 minute.
- Add carrot, celery, and mushrooms. Stir and sauté 2-3 minutes.
- Add 6 cups vegetable broth. Increase heat and bring to a light boil.
- Meanwhile, rinse barley. When soup is lightly boiling, add barley. Stir, reduce heat to med-low, cover, and simmer for about 35 minutes or until barley is tender.
- Roughly chop kale, large stems removed.
- Stir in kale and white wine vinegar during the last couple minutes of cooking. Salt/pepper to taste before serving. (Or garnish with fresh parsley or dill.)
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
Sodium: This is omitted as I cannot provide an accurate number. I encourage you to calculate your own to provide a much more precise reading based on the exact ingredients, brands, and amounts you're using.
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Excellent! Wholesome and healthy.
I sautéed the mirepoix in olive oil and a bit of butter and added parmesan rind during the simmering.
I'll definitely be making it again.
Great to hear you enjoyed the soup, Matt! I appreciate your kind feedback - thank you.
Hi Kaitlin, I made this just as the recipe said except added cooked barley with my kale at the end, so I didn’t need to cook it as long. It’s delicious. Thanks for this recipe!
Hello Stephanie! That's so great to hear. Glad it worked out with your pre-cooked barley. Thanks very much for sharing your kind and helpful feedback! 🙂
Chalene R Mueller
I used fresh herbs for the Italian Seasoning, added some fresh corn, peas, yellow squash (I needed to use), and otherwise followed your recipe exactly. It was so tasty and satisfying. Definitely a keeper.
That sounds amazing, Chalene! Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful adaption.
Do you think I can add all this in my instapot and cook it?
Hi Christi! I haven't tested that, but I'm guessing it would do wonderfully in the instant pot! I'd suggest sautéing the onion, carrot, & celery for about 5 minutes first, then add the mushrooms & garlic and sauté for another 3-4 minutes. Then probably pressure cook for about 18-20 minutes. Would love to hear if you give it a try!
Cool thank you!! I actually made it last night with lentils and no mushrooms and we LOVED it!!!
Awesome to hear! Great adaption with the lentils!