easy healthy portobello mushroom soup
Lunches, Soups and Stews, Vintage Meets Modern Recipes

Easy Healthy Portobello Mushroom Barley Soup

Cooks in 1 hour Difficulty Easy 0 comments

This easy, healthy portobello mushroom barley soup is a clear broth-based soup with deep flavor. It’s so good it will be gobbled up by your family in record time. Seconds, please? This nutritious soup recipe makes a large batch, enough for several bowlfuls of the deep-bodied barley-filled soup. The longest time taken to make this rich soup is cooking the pearl barley. After that, the whole thing comes together reasonably quick for a great soup anytime.

I love a soup that is so like it will be eaten without the need to freeze leftovers. This portobello soup is one of those. In fact, when I made it for soup and sandwich day for my hardworking family, they asked why they didn’t get more in their lunch. It’s seriously that good. Pair it with a delicious ham and cheese sandwich or a handful of crackers for a lighter lunch.

If you love soups, see our ravioli veggie fall soup, too!

portobello mushroom pearl barley soup

Let’s get that pearl barley cooking.

The pearl barley is the longest to cook. It takes forty minutes, so we want to get that on well before dinner time. The barley is put in your soup/stock pot and covered with four cups of water. You will boil it, and then it simmer for forty minutes.

The rest of the soup is super easy. It just requires prepping the vegetables and sauteeing them well before blending all the ingredients in the soup pot.

The carrots are the hardest veggies in this soup and, therefore, require cooking longer or b/need to be diced fine. It’s really a personal preference for how you prefer chopped vegetables for this rich, old-fashioned soup. I cut our carrots in slices thin enough to cook well, but as my family prefers a slight crunch rather than mush for their carrots, I chose not to dice.

The celery can be cut in much the same way as the carrots. And the portobello mushrooms, which are quite large, can be cut in half and then sliced. If you can’t buy the more expensive portobello mushrooms, they can be pricy; you can get away with using white or cremini mushrooms. In fact, cremini mushrooms are very similar in flavor to portobello without that hefty price tag.

When the barley is nearly finished cooking, you can heat a frying pan with butter and oil. Add the chopped garlic, onions, celery, mushrooms and carrots. Let these sautee until your carrots are slightly soft. You can transfer the vegetables to a soup pot with the barley and its cooking water.

Add in the vegetable stock and fresh herbs. The herbs for the soup should be fresh, not dried, as they have more flavorful oils to impart to your broth. If you have to substitute dry herbs, add extra for deeper flavor.

The soup must now simmer for fifteen minutes until the carrots are fork-tender. Remove from the heat and serve.


Pearl Barley: This nutritious grain has the outer hull removed. It takes a long time to cook but offers a nice respite from rice. It has the soluble fiber beta-glucan in it, which studies have shown to improve heart health. Our grandmothers were on to something when they added this to their family’s diet.

Portobello Mushrooms: These large mushrooms have an umami flavor for soups and cooking. They have even been used in recipes as a meat substitute due to their meatier texture.

Carrots: Carrots are full of beta carotene, yes, but they are also linked to lower blood cholesterol, which is a good thing! This soup has only two carrots, but you could certainly add more. If you can source them, add more color with purple carrots!

Celery: I once had someone ask me to describe the flavor of celery. It was harder than I thought it would be. Celery is a great low-fat food source filled with lots of water. It’s also a great source of antioxidants. I love the longevity of celery in the home. You can revive wilted celery simply by cutting the end off the stalk and standing in a glass of fresh water in the fridge! Leftover celery and celery tops can also be quickly frozen for later use.

Garlic: It is a superfood that I absolutely love. Partly because I was raised eating lots of it and somewhat because it adds so much flavor to foods. Of course, having a Ukrainian partner means most recipes start with a few cloves of fresh garlic. My father-in-law actually grows it, so we are spoiled with beautiful garlic of all kinds. In this recipe, it’s offering up its imparting its intense flavor to the broth.

Onion: I generally use red onions as we find them. Ahem, less gas producing. Yes, that is something people deal with. The red onion contains at least 25 different anthocyanins. Wow! That means they are also high in antioxidants.

Fresh Basil: This is an herb with a very distinct essence. We used a fair bit of the fresh stuff because it adds to the overall complexity of the soup broth.

Fresh Parsley: This is full of healthful properties and makes a beautiful addition to any soup.

portobello mushroom pearl barley soup

Suggested Serving Ideas:

This delicious full-bodied portobello soup can be served hot by itself or with a side of freshly made bread. Try a bowl with our jalapeno Havarti biscuits for more homemade goodness.

Send a bowlful of this tasty soup to school or work with a ham and cheese sandwich. It pairs well with sandwiches as it is a lighter soup.

Serve a small bowlful of this soup as an appetizer at your next dinner. It would pair well with any roast beef or chicken dinner dish.

Substitutions for the portobello mushroom barley soup:

  • Instead of portobello mushrooms, you can use smaller white or cremini mushrooms for the best flavor.
  •  Add in some dried wild mushrooms from the grocer for more umami flavor.
  •  Instead of onion, you can use leeks. Be sure to include the whole leek sliced up.
  •  You can use chicken stock if you don’t have vegetable stock.

Expert Tips:

  1. This recipe asks for pearl barley. Pot barley isn’t the same as pearl barley. It has more of the hull still intact and bran. However, it makes little difference in this recipe, and the two can be used interchangeably.
  2.  To speed up your soup-making, prepare the vegetable a day ahead. You could even cut up and freeze a mix of celery and carrot with onion for soup making. That way, you only need to remove and use what is required for this recipe, reducing food waste.
  3.  If you purchase celery for this recipe and don’t need the whole bunch, you can cut it and freeze it later in recipes. No need to blanche first. Just wash, cut, and freeze. Simple.
easy healthy portobello mushroom barley soup

Easy Healthy Portobello Mushroom Pearl Barley Soup

Amber Bondar
This healthy portobello mushroom pearl barley soup is full of anti-oxidant rich vegetables and has a deep rich flavor. The easy soup comes together in just over an hour for a healthy nutritious warming soup that is perfect for lunches or as a lighter dinner. Serve with your favorite biscuit for a complete meatless meal idea.
Course lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, Canadian
Servings 6


  • ½ Cup Pearl Barley Dry uncooked
  • 4 Cups Water
  • 2 Red Onions Chopped
  • 5 Cloves Garlic Sliced or Diced
  • 1 Stalk Celery Sliced
  • 2 Whole Carrots Peeled and sliced or diced
  • 6 Medium Portobello Mushrooms Cut in half and then slice
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Stock *Or Chicken Stock
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Basil Chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley Chopped fine
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Oil


  • In a soup pot add four cups of water to one half cup of dry pearl barley.
  • Bring to a boil and then cover reduce temperature and simmer for forty minutes.
  • Prep your vegetables and herbs.
  • In a fry pan add the butter and oil and heat until blended.
  • Add in the fry pan your garlic, onion, mushroom, carrots, and celery.
  • Sautee for five to ten minutes or until carrots are slightly soft.
  • Add to your cooked barley and cooking water the soup stalk and fresh herbs.
  • Add the sauteed vegetable mix in and stir in the soup pot.
  • Cover the soup and let simmer for additional fifteen minutes or until carrots are fork tender.
  • Serve while hot. Leftovers can be reheated for up to three days.
  • Freeze unused portions in freezer containers for up to one month. Longer will result in poor quality. Note frozen mushrooms will become chewier.
Keyword barley, healthy, lunch, mushroom, nutritious, soup

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