Now's the time you're looking for something comforting, yet lighter than what's been on the menu for the last couple months right? Or maybe your family has been hit with cold and flu season and you need something that goes down easy. Simple Vegetable Barley Soup fits the bill no matter what you need right now!
Just like a warm hug in a bowl, my vegetable barley soup is gentle and nourishing, and especially comforting if you're feeling a little under the weather. Carrots, celery, and green beans are simple and familiar vegetables you're likely to have already in your fridge. Tomatoes add a special feel to the soup, and the barley cooks down to make the broth slightly thicker, with more staying power. It's perfect for a lighter dinner, appetizer, or lunch. It can even be made in the slow cooker for an instant meal when you get home!
How to Make Simple Vegetable Barley Soup
I start with my Homemade Vegetable Broth from Scraps. I highly recommend making it and keeping it on hand, especially in the winter! But if you don't have any and/or don't want to bother making it, use the lowest sodium vegetable broth you can find at your grocery store. You could also use water, but you may want to add some additional spices if you do.
Use a large pot or Dutch oven, and add all the ingredients except green beans. If you put the green beans in at the beginning, they're likely to be mush by the time the soup is done. I add them at the end, when there's about 5 or 10 minutes left in the cooking, so they stay crisp and bright green!
I also don't bother peeling my carrots. Just scrub them up well and slice them. Although if you do want to peel them, consider saving the peels for making Vegetable Skin Crisps!
Bring the whole pot to a boil, and them reduce the heat so the pot is simmering. Simmer for close to an hour, until the barley is about done. Now you can add the green beans, and continue cooking the soup until they are crisp-tender.
How to Make Vegetable Soup in the Slow Cooker
My soup can absolutely be made in the slow cooker! In fact, the instructions will be pretty similar.
You'll add everything except the green beans to your slow cooker. Cook it on high for 4-6 hours, or low for longer. When you get home, toss the beans in and cook it for another 10 minutes before serving. Easy peasy!
Is Vegetable Soup Healthy?
You're probably thinking, "of course it's healthy; it's vegetables!" And you'd be right.
When you make vegetable soup yourself, you have complete control over the ingredients. In this case, I'm primarily talking about salt. But also you can load your soup up with veggies, versus a canned soup you might get that is mainly broth with a few cubes of carrots and beans.
While vegetable soup is endlessly customizable, my version features only 104 calories per serving, 53 mg sodium, and 0.5 grams total fat. But it also boasts 21% of your daily value of fiber, 26% daily value of vitamin C, 18% daily value of potassium, 14% daily value iron, and 11% daily value of magnesium. Wow! A perfect addition to any healthy eating plan!
Simple Vegetable Barley Soup
This is an easy and delicious vegetable soup to warm you from the inside out! Perfect for chilly winter days or when you just want something simple and yummy!
- 4 cups Homemade Vegetable Broth (or low sodium vegetable broth)
- 1 can Low sodium diced tomatoes
- ½ Large Onion, chopped
- ½ cup Sliced Carrots
- ½ cup Chopped Celery
- ¼ cup dry Barley
- 1 Bay leaf
- 2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- ½ teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
- ½ cup Green Beans, fresh or frozen
Add all ingredients, except green beans, to a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 50-60 minutes, until barley is tender.
In the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, add the green beans. Remove and discard bay leaf.
Serve, garnished with chopped parsley, if desired.
Slow Cooker Directions:
Add all ingredients to the slow cooker, except green beans.
Cook on high for 4-6 hours, or low for longer.
When you get home, add the green beans, and cook for 10 minutes longer.