Vegetarian Bean and Barley Vegetable Soup

Vegetarian bean and barley soup

The Spruce

  • Total: 75 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 65 mins
  • Yield: about 6 to 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
228 Calories
3g Fat
41g Carbs
12g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: about 6 to 8 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 228
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 962mg 42%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 9g 33%
Protein 12g
Calcium 118mg 9%
*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 vegetarian and vegan recipe for a hearty homemade barley and vegetable soup is both healthy and filling. A meal in itself, you can add just about any veggies you want. If you're used to a more traditional beef and barley soup, go ahead and try this lower-fat and cholesterol-free version of a vegetarian bean and barley soup - you definitely won't be disappointed at all!

This simple and healthy soup recipe makes a more than ​a generous amount, so plan on having some leftovers.


  • 1/2 large onion (diced)
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons of oil (or vegan margarine)
  • 2 ribs celery (diced)
  • 2 medium-sized carrots (diced)
  • Optional: any other vegetables desired (about 1/2 cup each)
  • 8 cups water (or vegetable broth; you can also use half and half, or water with a vegetarian bouillon cube)
  • 1 cup pearled barley (uncooked)
  • 1 cup pinto beans (or white beans, cooked or canned)
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste (or crushed tomatoes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt (optional but adds a nice flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano (or Italian spice mix)
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • Optional: salt and pepper to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for vegetable soup
     The Spruce 
  2. In a large soup or stock pot, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil or vegan margarine for a minute or two.

    Onions and garlic in oil
     The Spruce
  3. Then add the celery, carrots and any other vegetables you are using for about 3 to 5 minutes.

    Soup vegetables in a pot
    The Spruce 
  4. Next, add in the vegetable broth or water and all the other remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a simmer. Once your soup is simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover your pot. 

    Vegetable soup stock in a pot
     The Spruce
  5. Allow your soup to simmer on the stove for at least thirty minutes and up to one hour, stirring occasionally, until the barley is soft and somewhat fluffy.

    Barley in soup
     The Spruce
  6. Be sure to remove both of the bay leaves before serving your soup.

    Bay leaves and vege soup
     The Spruce
  7. Taste, and then add in more spices or a bit of optional salt and pepper to taste.

    Bean and Barley Vegetable Soup
     The Spruce
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Variation

  • Feel free to add any type of vegetables you favor to this barley and vegetable soup. We think that green beans, peas, and corn are some great additions.