Hearty Vegetable Barley Soup

Hi. Hello! I’m so glad you’re here. This is my first post and feels like an awkward blind date, which has never been my strong suite, but ahh hell I’ll make the best of it (ironically, this is also how I’ve always approached blind dates. Hopefully this goes better).

You should read my “About Me” page, but if you don’t here’s the jist: I love food. I love making food, I love eating food, and I love talking about food. My boyfriend loves food too, but in a different way…actually several different ways than I do. I’m a vegetarian, he’s a bow hunter, I never stop thinking about my next meal, he tends to forget to eat meals, I’m all about natural ingredients, he’s all about the most economically sound purchase (read: cheap). So, as you may guess, we tend to come up with some creative ways to find culinary bliss.

Which brings me to my first recipe. During one particularly blustery midwestern day a couple weeks ago, the boy and I were talking about soup. While he likes meaty soup and I like chunky tomato soup, we came to the conclusion that we both like barley soup (and really, who doesn’t? If you don’t you should really start embracing good things in life). So, being the creative compromiser that I am, I decided to make the best Beef(like) Barley Vegetable Soup possible. This soup of champions would taste meaty, have chunks of tomatoes, and barley. Am I SOUPer woman or what? (okay fine, I like puns. The jig is up).

The verdict from the boy? He scarfed down two bowls the first time I made it, and took a few servings to “deer camp” the next week. Tonight he’s at deer camp eating buck loins, but what’s a girl to do?

Vegetable Barley Soup
Cook time
Total time
A vegetarian take on vegetable beef barley soup! Hearty, filling, and comforting.
Recipe type: Soup, Main Dish
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Serves: 608
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bag meatless sausage crumbles (In the frozen section by the veggie burgers. Be not afraid.)
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), divided
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped (white, red, yellow, whatevs)
  • 1 yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • One head's worth of broccoli florets (around 2 cups)
  • 1 cup frozen peas (cause I had 'em)
  • Dash(es) of cumin to taste
  • Dash(es) of crushed red pepper to taste
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 28oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  1. Boil the two cups of water, add the barley, make sure it starts to boil again, put a lid on it and turn the burner down so it just simmers. Let it sit for 35-45 minutes.
  2. The veggie sausage crumbles are easy to make. Just cover a pan with nonstick cooking spray, pour the bag in, and use a spatula to get them cooked all over. Set aside.
  3. Pour about 1 tbsp of the EVOO in the pan over medium heat with the garlic, and cook until fragrant (easy now, don't burn it). Add the onion, along with enough olive oil that the onion glistens with EVOO beauty. Once the onion is translucent, add the other chopped veggies, along with the rest of the EVOO. Depending on how big your vegetables are, you may need more EVOO. Pour happy, it's good fat. Add cumin and some black pepper. Let the veggies mingle until they're comfortable (soft), which will probably take about 10 minutes.
  4. Pour in the broth, water, and tomatoes.
  5. Bring the whole thing to a boil, and let it roll for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally. After those two minutes are up, add the sausage crumbles, add the cooked barley, turn the burner down to a simmer, and let the flavors merge together in perfect harmony until you're ready to eat!
  6. Serve about 2 cups to each person, and grate some cheese on top quickly so it melts into gooey goodness. I've served it with parmesan and white cheddar, and recommend both.


One Response to “Hearty Vegetable Barley Soup”

  1. GC — November 10, 2011 @ 3:52 am (#)


    Great first post! Although “buck loins” are delicious, this recipe sounds amazing. Your boy, “the beast” made the right call on bringing left overs to deer camp. All the best and I look forward to reading future posts.

    P.S. I’m sure you’re a natural on first dates!