I know…few get excited over a large bowl of vegetable barley soup. It sounds so pedestrian, boring. But trust me….this soup will change the view of “barley soup” of nearly anyone! Do buy the best jarred marinara sauce though, it is well worth the extra cost for the depth of flavor it adds. I lucked into a buy one-get one free sale on Mezzetta sauces, wishing I had bought more now!
I used Arrowhead Mills Pearled Barley, which is organic and I find to be of high quality (meaning no field debris). It does though take a little longer to cook, but that is OK. If you happen to use a quicker cooking barley adjust the final cooking.
I served the soup with the Herb Focaccia Bread I had made.
Vegetable Barley Soup
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup carrots. peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cups onion, peeled and finely chopped (1 large)
- 1 cup bell pepper, finely chopped (frozen is fine)
- 1 tsp dry thyme, rubbed between fingers
- ¾ cup Arrowhead Mills Pearled Barley
- 1 quart lower sodium vegetable broth (or chicken for non-veg)
- 24.5 ounce jar marinara sauce
- 8 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
- 3 cups zucchini, finely chopped (about 2 medium)
Place a heavy-bottomed medium size pot over medium heat, add the oil, carrots, onion, bell peppers, thyme and barley. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are golden brown. Check often so that barley doesn’t burn.
Stir in the broth and marinara sauce, bring to a boil. Add in the mushrooms and zucchini and bring back to a boil. Turn down to medium-low and cover almost all the way. Let simmer for 30 minutes or until the barley is just tender, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
Season to taste if desired.