Farmhouse Vegetable Barley Soup

Farmhouse Vegetable Barley Soup

This Farmhouse Vegetable Barley Soup is a great recipe for the cooler weather we’ve been having. The flavor is rich and comforting, it’s hearty and filling, and it tastes amazing reheated the second (or third!) day. I saw this recipe in the most recent Cook’s Illustrated magazine and quickly realized that I had almost all of the ingredients on hand, thanks to my trusty CSA. I asked Mike if he cared if I made a vegetable barley soup for dinner (not normally his style), and he said he didn’t care. I don’t think he was listening. :) I’m so glad I tried it because I know I’m going to be making this soup again and again. Unfortunately, Mike did not feel the same way. There was a little too much cabbage and a few too many leeks for his taste. But I didn’t mind because it meant that I got to take it for lunch all week! This soup is full of flavor and incredibly healthy. It makes a lot of soup, but if you’re anything like me, you won’t have any trouble eating it all before it goes bad. :)

Farmhouse Vegetable Barley Soup

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Farmhouse Vegetable Barley Soup

Yield: Serves 6-8


1/8 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
8 sprigs fresh parsley plus 3 tablespoons chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds leeks , white and light green parts sliced 1/2 inch thick and washed thoroughly
2 carrots , peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 celery ribs , cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons soy sauce
Salt and pepper
6 cups water
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1/2 cup pearl barley
1 garlic clove , peeled and smashed
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes , peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups chopped green cabbage
1 teaspoon lemon juice


Grind porcini with spice grinder until they resemble fine meal, 10 to 30 seconds. Measure out 2 teaspoons porcini powder; reserve remainder for other use. Using kitchen twine, tie together parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf.

Melt butter in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks, carrots, celery, wine, soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and celery is softened, about 10 minutes.

Add water, broth, barley, porcini powder, herb bundle, and garlic; increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes.

Add potatoes and cabbage; return to simmer and cook until barley, potatoes, and cabbage are tender, 18 to 20 minutes.

Remove pot from heat and remove herb bundle. Stir in lemon juice and chopped parsley; season with salt and pepper to taste.

from Cook's Illustrated, Nov. 2011

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11 Responses to “Farmhouse Vegetable Barley Soup”

  1. 1

    JulieD — October 31, 2011 @ 10:59 am

    I love any soup that has potatoes in it! I love that this has white in it too. Great pictures, Megan!

  2. 2

    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — October 31, 2011 @ 11:41 am

    Such a bummer when you love something buy your husband doesn’t! I hate that! I think this looks delicious!

  3. 3

    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — October 31, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

    Sometimes I like when my husband doesn’t like what I make… more for me:-)

  4. 4

    Maria — November 1, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

    Looks so comforting!

  5. 5

    Cookin' Canuck — November 2, 2011 @ 12:41 am

    This sounds like a wonderful lunchtime soup – with or without the husband’s approval. :)

  6. 6

    Nutmeg Nanny — November 2, 2011 @ 11:50 am

    I would love all that cabbage…what is he talking about….hehe :)
    I also love that the soup has barley in it. Makes it really filling!

  7. 7

    Andrea — November 2, 2011 @ 2:04 pm

    I’ve never tried barley before… does it have a really earthy flavor?
    & I was wondering if I missed the winner to your spices giveaway?

    • megan replied: — November 6th, 2011 @ 8:00 am

      I’ve never thought of barly as having an earthy flavor…I think of it as more like rice or couscous or something, I might be wrong though, as this soup probably masks the flavor pretty well. And yes, I chose the winner and updated the giveaway post. :)

  8. 8

    Eliana — November 15, 2011 @ 10:36 am

    This soup looks like it’s so full of incredible flavor – and super comforting too.

  9. 9

    Elci — November 10, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

    The list of ingredients does not show peas (in method instructions).

  10. 10

    Cleanse & Vegetable Barley Soup | gardensandstitches — January 30, 2014 @ 8:31 am

    […] I kicked off 2014 with a cleanse. This meant no flour or sugar in week one, no animal in week 2, and only raw food in week 3. I adhered to the rules imperfectly, but the difference between my imperfect cleanse and what had become my normal was substantial.  There were other guides as well – unplug a bit, read more, meditate, do yoga. The event of the cleanse was 21 days long because – unhappenstance-ily-  this is how long it takes to make a new habit. And it worked. I think I can say now that I actually practice yoga (don’t get me wrong, my down dogs are down puppies and my binds are easily breakable but its a nice new habit.  I am improving and I feel good). Another change… flour and sugar and meat do not appeal as much as they did in December. Our groceries are almost all organic now. My friendship with a vegan friend has flourished a bit more…(is it just me or did you also just notice that the root of that word is “flour”?!!).  I might have made a roast chicken last night but that just did not appeal, instead?…Vegetable Barley Soup. Yummy.  I gingerly followed the Cooks Illustrated recipe you can find here: […]

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