Hearty Mushroom Barley Soup (Parve or Meat)

Mushroom barley soup

Jim Scherer / Getty Images

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
305 Calories
16g Fat
19g Carbs
22g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 305
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 52mg 17%
Sodium 774mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Protein 22g
Calcium 74mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This Hearty Mushroom Barley Soup is easy to prepare, kid-friendly, and perfect for a cool fall or winter day. Giora Shimoni likes to serve it for Sukkot or Simchat Torah dinners as "a nice change from chicken soup." (And since barley is one of the Seven Species of Israel, it's especially fitting for harvest holiday menus) Prepared broth or stock makes a great flavor-boosting preparation shortcut; use vegetable broth to keep the soup pareve and vegetarian, or opt for chicken or beef stock if you're preparing a meat meal. 

Updated by Miri Rotkovitz


  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (peeled, trimmed, and finely chopped)
  • 1 carrot (peeled, trimmed, and chopped into small dice)
  • 1 celery stalk (trimmed and finely chopped)
  • 1 large clove garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms (cleaned, trimmed, and sliced)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock (storebought or homemade)
  • 6 teaspoons parve chicken soup powder
  • Kosher or sea salt and black pepper to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Cook the Pearl Barley: In a medium saucepan, combine the water, pearl barley, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the barley is soft and most of the water has been absorbed. Turn off the flame, but keep the barely covered for another 5 minutes to steam.

  2. Saute the Vegetables: While the barley cooks, warm the olive oil in a stockpot or large Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery, and saute until the onions are soft and translucent about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute more. Add the mushrooms and cook uncovered, sauteeing occasionally, until the mushrooms release their juices and turn soft, about 5 minutes more. 

  3. Prepare the Soup: Add the vegetable broth or chicken stock to the pot (or if preferred, use water and instant soup powder as described in the recipe note above), raise the heat and bring to a boil. Drain and rinse the barley and add to the pot. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for about 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.


  • The original recipe called for 6 cups of water plus 2 tablespoons of pareve chicken soup powder. If you prefer to avoid the sodium and MSG that's often found in instant soup powders, but still want a convenient soup starter, opt for a prepared broth, as I do in the updated recipe above. 
  • If you have leftover soup, the barley may absorb a lot of the liquid and thicken the soup considerably. Add extra stock or water when reheating to reach the consistency you prefer.