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 6 pm 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 barley soup was absolutely delicious. So much so that I asked him to recreate it once I finished through our freezer stash. Whether you enjoy this wonderful recipe on a cold day when you’re craving comfort food, or whenever you just need a fast pre-made meal from your freezer, this will be your new go-to!
What I love about this delicious soup is that it uses both dried and fresh 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 delicious mushroom flavor to the barley 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 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 this excellent recipe comes from the type of stock you use. Historically, we made 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. Choose whichever stock you like best: beef stock, chicken stock, vegetable broth, mushroom broth, etc.
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 the soup cool. Then we place the snug-fitting lid on top and label it with masking tape. From there, we place the filled tray in our freezer. You can either leave the mushroom and barley soup in the freezer until you're ready to heat some up or pop out the frozen cubes and place them 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 the soup 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 Are 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 low-medium 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 a lid until simmering.
How To Make Mushroom Barley Soup
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 dried 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.
- 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, take the mushrooms from the soaking liquid and drain them over another bowl. You’ll want to use 1-cup of the mushroom stock for the Mushroom Barley soup and roughly chop the hydrated mushrooms.