Mushroom Barley Soup

Mushroom-Barley Soup

Mushroom-Barley Soup

Here I am in my kitchen on the first really frigid day we’ve had.  The wind is blowing and  there’s a light cover of snow on the ground. We’re in for some bitter cold weather…..the Canadian Clipper has arrived.  (Canadian friends, thanks a bunch!).   I’m going to indulge myself today and wear my warm leggings, a sweater, heavy socks and slippers. And as you can probably guess I’m making…..soup!

This is excellent, excellent soup.  If you like mushrooms and you like barley, this combination in a soup can’t be beat. It’s very easy and economical to make and only takes about an hour.


This is a hearty soup with rich depth of flavor.  It’s even better the next day.  If it thickens up too much you can always add a little water or more broth.  I used two kinds of mushrooms;  baby bella(s) and porcinis that I cut rather thick, so biting into them is like eating meat.  The flavor is outstanding!!

Be sure to taste before adding salt as broth will have some salt in it, even if it’s lower in sodium.  I thought that the 1/4 cup olive oil was a bit too much so only used about half that amount, and the veggies sautéd just fine.  If you use regular barley instead of pearled, it will cook quicker if you soak it overnight.  Pearled barley cooks in about an hour or a little more.  When making soup it’s always best to plan a little extra time, but keep it 98% covered so the broth doesn’t evaporate away while it simmers.



Yield:  Makes about 6 servings


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 6 cups beef broth  ( Vegetarians use vegetable broth.)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms (use 2-3 different kinds if possible)
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme



1.  Heat oil in a large soup kettle over medium heat.  Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic;  cook and stir until onions are tender and transparent.

Saute the veggies in a little olive oil.

Saute the veggies in a little olive oil.

2.  Stir in mushrooms and continue to cook for a few minutes longer.

Add in the mushrooms.

Add in the mushrooms.

Pour in the beef broth and add the barley and thyme.


3.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Cover and keep at a low simmer until barley is tender, about 50 – 60 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper as needed before serving.

Hearty and delicious.  Full of umami flavor!

Hearty and delicious. Full of umami flavor!


SOURCE:   Slightly modified from


Eat Your Veggies

There are members of my family who are not particularly fond of vegetables, and they were going to be present at a family end-of-summer cookout.  I was asked to bring a salad.  Whenever this happens I try to bring one that includes vegetables in an appetizing, attractive form, hoping to entice them to eat their veggies.  This salad was a winner with everyone.  Once I placed it on the serving table it began to disappear very quickly so I didn’t get a good picture of the whole salad.  What you see here is the small amount that was left.     This is one salad  I know I will be making again and again.

Most people seem to like raw vegetables with a dip and my salad is a riff on that idea.  All the vegetables are raw plus there are cranberries for a little sweetness, peanuts for some extra crunch, and bacon for that smoky, salty taste.  For a vegetarian version, just omit the bacon.  The slightly sweet dressing pulls everything together and enhances it beautifully.


SERVES   10 – 12


  • 3 cups chopped raw broccoli
  • 3 cups chopped raw cauliflower
  • 3 cups chopped celery
  • 1 10 ounce package frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, such as Craisins
  • 1 cup dry-roasted peanuts, or raw peanuts
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled


  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons grated onion
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 & 1/2 cup mayonnaise


1.  Combine all the vegetables and cranberries in a large salad bowl.

2.  Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing.

3.  Pour the dressing over the salad.  Add the bacon and peanuts.  Toss to coat with dressing.  Serve chilled.