Everything Else · In The Kitchen

In the Kitchen: “Vegetable Barley Soup” and some tips for creating a clear barley soup

Another cold and flu season is upon us and there’s no better way to feel better than some homemade soup.


Everyone who knows me, knows that I love to cook, and those same people also know that while I will give anyone a recipe to anything I make… It isn’t always so simple because I don’t always have them written down.

(And then I hear “so.. I don’t measure anything? Just toss it in? And cook it for how long? Until it’s done?? what  kind of answer is that?!”😂😂😂)

So Bare with me because this recipe is kind of one of those.

But it’s worth it, and it’s very versatile.

Also Remember none of this is set in stone so use whatever vegetables you have on hand, whatever spices you like and season it to taste.

Vegetable Barley Soup

One gallon water (for soup itself)

Teaspoon of oil for sautéing

4 zucchinis

6 plum tomatoes

One bunch of carrots with tops cut off

One big bunch of celery stalks

A couple onions if they’re small – or one big one (I use white or yellow which ever is on hand) They cook down to almost nothing so there is no real oniony taste. (If oniony is a word)

4 or 5 cloves of garlic

An uncooked package of pearl barley

*Spices will basically be up to you in this recipe. For example here I have used a couple chicken bouillon cubes and some Montreal chicken spice and while I forgot to pick up fresh ginger from the store.. I use a dash of powdered.

Let’s begin!

Sauté onions

Sauté the chopped garlic and onions in the bottom of a big pot, make sure it’s big because if you’re like me (and you’ll see a picture at the end) sometimes you forget how many vegetables you like in your soup.

While those are cooking, chop up ALL the rest of your vegetables and put them into a big bowl.

Here’s a tip to help streamline this process:

When it comes to chopping vegetables that you need to add all at once..

The chopping line.

Place two big bowls in your sink. One for cut veggies and one for the compost.

 But prop the one that you’ll be putting the cut veggies in – up higher ( here I use an upside down cup to elevate the bowl )

And move it over just below that cutting board..  This will help streamline your chopping and gathering. Now you can chop chop chop, push them into the bowl and toss the waste into the other bowl.

Now that I am done rambling,

And you have chopped up a whole celery bunch and a whole bunch of carrots..


You going to chop up about five zucchinis.  Honestly I would say four.… In this photo I did 6 and you’ll see what the problem became 😂😂

Mix up different tomatoes

Finally chop up your tomatoes, here I used plum tomatoes and other tomatoes since I had one left on hand, and chop them up about this size and throw them into the bowl.

(if there are any vegetables that you prefer, swap them out or adamant this is personal preference)

Now transfer it into the pot and add enough water to cover all the vegetables and about an inch or two more.

 Or not..



As you can see here… This pot is huge but apparently is not huge enough for all of these vegetables so I had to split it into two pots. 😑


Once you have (more reasonably) thrown all of your vegetables in, I’ll move onto adding some spices.

(Here is another place where it’s basically up to you.)

Below you will see two things I have added to the soup because one day with a cold, I had forgot to buy what I really wanted to add 😂. This mistake has resulted in an even better soup! so I just continue to use these two.

I sprinkle some of this chicken spice in about three cubes of the chicken billions.

Then It’s a dash of ginger or grated fresh ginger depending on what you prefer.


Add those in (season to taste) and move on to the barley!

While all this is going on or after, (or before however you want to do it) you need to boil the barley.

Personally I can’t stand barley soup when it becomes the consistency of wallpaper paste, and its why for a long time I stayed away from it.

But once you learn how to make a clear barley soup you may love it as much as I do.

Let’s begin!

Get pearled barley

Start cooking your barley (in a separate pot!) as directed on the package you purchased, but be sure to rinse it off in cold water before boiling it will remove a lot of the dust.

And one thing people don’t realize is you should always give a quick check for rocks. Yes I said rocks, if you look closely it will even say it on the package. 😂

How to achieve a clearer soup

The straining makes a huge difference, as you can see the cloudy water left over would create an almost oatmeal texture in your soup.

When it comes to cooking barley if you cook it IN the soup, the finished soup will take on the consistency of somewhat gluey oatmeal in the end.

If you like that, awesome. 😂 but I don’t.

You may have been turned off in the past on eating a barley soup because of that, But have no fear! Not anymore!

What I like to do is cook the barley separate in its own pot, put it in a colander or use a big spoon rinse it and drain it.


The best way to do this is to just put the barley filled colander over a pot and run cold water over it.

Pearl barley usually takes about 40 minutes to cook and that’s about how long it will take to make your soup, so if you cook these together in two separate pots, they will both be done at the same time.

Looking good

And then, right before serving all you have to do is take a spoonful of soup into a bowl and add a heaping spoonful of bright white coat pearl barley.

Be sure to season the soup again to your taste in the end, before taking it off the stove.

I omit the salt because it can be added at any time when eating. but you may want it so experiment!


I hope you decide to whip up a batch of this soup soon as you feel any type of cold coming on,Its makes quite a large batch.

Then just Add a scoop of the cooked barley to the soup right before serving, a side of chips or toast and enjoy.

*Always be sure to cool soups completely before storing in the refrigerator. Once soup and barley are cooled i combine them in containers and store the leftovers together.*


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