Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe
I'll be the first to admit I never loved mushroom barley soup. When Jake told me he was going to make it for dinner, I was less than enthused. However, I had class until 6pm and a 30+ minute drive home and wasn't going to complain about a home-cooked dinner waiting for me when I got back from school. Holy moly. The soup was beyond delicious. So much so that I asked him to recreate it once I finished through our freezer stash.
What I love about this soup is that it uses both fresh mushrooms and dried mushrooms. We make sure to add the liquid that was used to hydrate the dried mushrooms (our favorite is porcini) as it adds so much flavor to the soup.
Best Types of Mushroom to Use for Mushroom Barley Soup
You can use many varieties of mushrooms for Mushroom Barley Soup. We prefer to use brown varieties of mushrooms as we find they have more flavor than white mushrooms. Our favorites include:
- Cremini mushrooms
- Baby Bella mushrooms
Vegetarian or Vegan Adaptations for Mushroom Barley Soup
The only animal-based part of the recipe comes from the type of stock you use. Historically we used to make this with our homemade chicken stock or homemade bone broth. However, since we try to limit the amount of meat we eat per week, we often make this recipe with homemade vegetable broth.
Freezing Mushroom Barley Soup
You can freeze mushroom barley soup. Our favorite method is to pour the soup into our 1-cup Souper Cubes® trays and let it cool. Then we place the snug-fitting lid on top and label with masking tape. From there, we place the filled tray in our freezer. You can either leave the mushroom barley soup in the freezer until you're ready to heat some up or pop out the frozen cubes and place in a freezer-safe bag. The benefit of placing the frozen cubes in a freeze-safe bag is that it's often more space efficient and frees up your Souper Cubes® tray to freeze something else.
While we prefer to use our 1-cup trays, you can definitely use our 2-cup trays too. I often end up heating up a 1-cup portion for myself and Jake will heat up 2 1-cup cubes for himself.
Reheating Mushroom Barley Soup from Frozen
There are a lot of ways to reheat soup from frozen. If you can, we always recommend letting it thaw in the fridge for several hours as this will ultimately reduce the amount of time it takes to reheat. If you skip that step, as we often do, that's totally okay.
Here's our preferred ways to reheat frozen soup:
- If reheating 1-cup: place in a mug and microwave for 3+ minutes until hot. Stir before eating in case any parts of the soup haven't fully defrosted.
- If reheating 2+ cups:
- Place frozen cubes of soup in a microwave-safe and microwave until hot, or
- Place frozen cubes in a pot and place over medium-low heat until soup begins to melt, and a liquid covers the entire bottom of the pot. Then raise heat to medium heat and cover with lid until simmering.
Okay, let’s get started!
Gather and Prep Your Ingredients
I love that this dish has relatively few ingredients (8 total) but is packed with flavor.
Hydrate Dried Mushrooms
We love the umami flavor that dried mushrooms bring. You can use any dried mushrooms, but we prefer to use porcini.
To hydrate dried mushrooms, you can either:
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small pot, add dried mushrooms, turn off heat, cover with lid, and wait 10-15 minutes. Or,
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, place in a bowl, add dried mushrooms, and wait 10-15 minutes.
Once you’ve let the dried mushrooms soak for 10-15 minutes, drain the mushrooms over another bowl. You’ll want to use 1-cup of the mushroom stock for the Mushroom Barley soup and rouhgly chop the hydrated mushrooms.
Sauté Onions and Carrots
Jake loves to remind me that it's important to cook the mushrooms in small batches so that it doesn't overcrowd the pot. I agree. It cooks faster and develops a better flavor since it can start to brown.
You only need to sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds of so, make sure it doesn’t burn.
Add Remaining Ingredients to the Pot
Serve and Enjoy!
Before serving, remove bay leaves and season with salt and pepper.
Freeze Leftovers to Enjoy Later
Vegetarian Mushroom Barley Soup
Soups / Appetizers
Michelle from Souper Cubes
Try this new vegetarian mushroom barley soup recipe. Perfect for making ahead and freezing for a quick but hearty weeknight dinner.
16oz mushrooms, sliced (we prefer cremini and baby bella varieties)
½ cup dried mushrooms (we prefer porcini)
1 yellow onion, diced
3-4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups broth (veggie, bone broth, or chicken)
2 cups water
1 cup barley
2 bay leaves
6 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Souper Cubes 1-Cup Freezing Tray
Souper Cubes 2-Cup Freezing Tray
For Freezer Meal Prep:
Hydrate Dried Mushrooms. In a small saucepan, place ½ cup dried mushrooms with 2 cups of water. Bring to a low boil, then turn heat off and cover with lid for 10 minutes.
Sauté Onions and Carrots. Place a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Then add 1 diced onion and 3-4 diced carrots. Sauté for 5-7 minutes, until soft. Set aside in a bowl.
Brown Mushrooms. In the same stock pot, add another 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, add sliced mushrooms. Sauté until no moisture from the mushrooms is gone and they've started to brown. Then add crushed garlic and stir until fragrant (roughly 30 seconds).
Add Veggies and Stock. Add the sautéed onions and carrots back into the pot with the mushrooms and garlic. Then add 8 cups of broth of choice and 2 bay leaves to the pot.
Drain/Chop Hydrated Mushrooms. As the soup is heating up, strain the hydrated mushrooms over a bowl. Roughly chop the hydrated mushrooms. Then add hydrated mushrooms and 1cup of strained mushroom broth in the pot. Season with salt and pepper.
Add Barley. Add 1cup barley to stock pot and stir. Bring pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover with lid and cook for 60-90 minutes. Stir every thirty minutes or so.
Serve. Remove bay leaves and serve in a bowl. Freeze leftovers in your favorite Souper Cubes® tray.