Vegetarian Bean and Barley Vegetable Soup

Vegetarian bean and barley soup

The Spruce

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 65 mins
Total: 75 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
118 Calories
4g Fat
18g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 118
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 183mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 5mg 24%
Calcium 47mg 4%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 338mg 7%
*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 oil (or vegan margarine)

  • 2 ribs celery (diced)

  • 2 medium 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 vegetable 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

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.