One pot vegetable, bean, and barley soup in 3 black bowls with a silver spoon.

One Pot Vegetable, Bean, and Barley Soup

Spread the love!

Filled with loads of healthy vegetables, hearty beans, and succulent barley, this one pot vegetable, bean, and barley soup is the perfect meal on a cold fall day. It’s sure to fill your belly and warm you from within. With subtle notes of tomato and the combination of fresh and dried herbs, this soup offers a big flavor punch while remaining light and earthy. Just throw nearly all of the ingredients right into the pot, allow it to simmer, and in no time, you’ll have a delectable comforting meal for your whole family!

Soup in a white mug on top of a black bowl with a metal spoon and red leaves surrounding it.

What makes this one pot vegetable, bean, and barley soup so good?!

This super simple, ultra filling, vegetarian soup is the best meal for parents and kids alike. It is hearty and loaded with healthy vegetables. As an added bonus, kids will never know how truly nutritious this soup is since it’s full of great kid-friendly flavors. With its tomatoey base and italian seasonings, this soup tastes like a combination of tomato soup and minestrone. The nutty barley provides rich texture and flavor, as well as more nutritional value than the noodles traditionally found in a minestrone soup. 

The starches from the barley also aid in thickening the broth, providing you with a thick and creamy soup without any additional unhealthy cream or thickeners! As well, this recipe is great for those with dietary restrictions. Vegetarian? Check. Vegan? Check. Dairy free? Check. Gluten free? Substitute the barley for a gluten free friendly grain, like rice or quinoa. 

Furthermore, this vegetable barley soup is made in one pot, making clean up a breeze. Plus, it is incredibly easy to make. Just throw the ingredients into your pot, set it, and forget about it. It’s great as a weeknight meal, leftovers for lunch, or frozen and reheated later on.

Ingredients

Labelled ingredients for vegetable, bean, and barley soup (see recipe for details).
  1. Onion, chopped
  2. Carrots, sliced
  3. Celery, sliced
  4. Garlic Cloves, minced
  5. Fennel Bulb, sliced and core removed
  6. Olive Oil
  7. Fresh Thyme, leaves only
  8. Dried Basil
  9. Dried Oregano
  10. Salt & Pepper
  11. Tomato Paste
  12. Great Northern Beans or Cannellini Beans, canned, rinsed and drained
  13. Diced Tomatoes, canned
  14. Barley
  15. Vegetable Broth
  16. Water
  17. Bay Leaf
  18. Kale

A few notes about the ingredients:

  1. Fennel looks like a combination of an onion and celery. You can find it in the produce aisle of the grocery store. When it is raw, it has a black licorice/anise smell and taste, but when added to the soup and cooked, it tastes nothing like it does raw. Instead, it lends a subtle sweet flavor to the soup. 
  2. If you don’t have fresh thyme, you can use dried thyme but may need to adjust the measurement since dried thyme has more concentrated flavor. 
  3. Do not drain the diced tomatoes. The juices provide additional flavor to the vegetable broth.
  4. If you buy quick cooking barley, adjust the cook time according to the directions on the package.

How do you make one pot vegetable, bean, and barley soup?

Prepare all of your vegetables by cutting them and setting each one aside.

Chopped onions, sliced fennel, diced carrots and celery, and minced garlic on a wooden cutting board.

Over medium heat, heat the olive oil in a tall soup pot. When warm, saute the onion, carrots, celery, and fennel until the veggies start to soften and the onions start to turn translucent. Add the garlic and stir.

After about a minute, add the dried basil and oregano, salt and pepper, and tomato paste. Stir to coat the vegetables.

Vegetables cooking in a tall pot topped with great northern beans and dry barley.

Pour in the diced tomatoes, beans, and barley. Stir again and let it simmer for a minute.

Pour in the vegetable broth and water. Then, add the bay leaf and fresh thyme leaves. Stir to mix it all together.

Vegetables, bay leaf, barley, and beans in a pot covered in vegetable broth.

Cover the soup and allow it to simmer for about 40 minutes. If the barley is still hard, boil a few more minutes. If the liquid evaporates quickly, slowly add more water or broth.

When the soup is done cooking, remove the bay leaf and rip quarter sized pieces of kale from it’s stem and add it to the soup. Stir to incorporate the kale and remove the soup from the heat. The kale will soften in the hot soup.

Serve with crusty bread or homemade garlic bread.

One pot vegetable bean and barley soup in 3 white mugs on top of black plates with metal spoons.

What can you substitute for barley in soup?

If you don’t have barley on hand or prefer to substitute it with something else, you can replace it with almost any of your favorite grains. Add precooked farro, wheat berries, or small noodles. Or, to make this vegetable, bean, and barley soup gluten free, you can substitute frozen corn, precooked rice, chopped potatoes, lentils, or additional beans in place of the barley.

Do you need to soak and/or cook barley before adding it to soup? 

You do not need to soak barley prior to adding it to the soup. The starches that coat the barley actually help to thicken the broth and become a natural thickening agent. If you rinse the barley, you may lose some of that thickness. You also do not need to cook the barley prior to adding it, since it’ll cook in the broth. The barley will soak up all the wonderful flavors of the soup, while also helping to thicken it as it cooks.

What makes this one pot vegetable, bean, and barley soup healthy?

The vegetables included in this soup have a ton of nutritional value. Additionally, beans and barley are a great source of fiber and help to aid in digestion. The antioxidants and minerals found in both the legume and the grain have anti inflammatory properties, which can help in lowering your risk of cancer. They also add a great source of protein to the soup, making it incredibly filling even hours after eating.

One more tip

  • This soup is great for freezing. Store it in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. When ready to eat it, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then, add the soup to a pot and heat it over medium heat until it is warmed through. If the broth evaporates or gets soaked up by the barley and vegetables, add a splash more broth or water.
Vegetable, bean, and barley soup in a black bowl with a spoon and side of crusty bread.

Looking for more healthy recipes? Try these:

Share your cooking with me! If you make this recipe, I’d love to know! Tag @yourhomemadehealthy on Instagram or leave a comment with a rating and some feedback at the bottom of this page!

Vegetable, bean, and barley soup in a black bowl with a spoon and side of crusty bread.

One Pot Vegetable, Bean, and Barley Soup

With loads of healthy vegetables, hearty beans, and nutty barley, this one pot vegetable, bean, and barley soup is perfect for a cold day. Just dump your ingredients into the pot, set it, and forget about it. It’s that easy!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Appetizer, Lunch, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Italian, Mediterranean
Servings 8 servings

Equipment

  • large soup pot

Ingredients
  

  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 3 carrots diced
  • 3 celery stalks sliced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 fennel bulb sliced and core removed
  • 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves only
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 15.5 oz great northern beans or cannellini beans canned, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 oz diced tomatoes canned
  • ½ cup barley
  • 32 oz vegetable broth (4 cups)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 to 3 kale stems leaves only

Instructions
 

  • Prepare all of your vegetables by cutting them and setting each one aside.
  • Over medium heat, heat the olive oil in a tall soup pot. When warm, sauté the onion, carrots, celery, and fennel until the veggies start to soften and the onions start to turn translucent. Add the garlic and stir.
  • After about a minute, add the dried basil and oregano, salt and pepper, and tomato paste. Stir to coat the vegetables.
  • Pour in the diced tomatoes, beans, and barley. Stir again and let it simmer for a minute.
  • Pour in the vegetable broth and water. Then, add the bay leaf and fresh thyme leaves. Stir to mix it all together.
  • Cover the soup and allow it to simmer for about 40 minutes. If the barley is still hard, boil a few more minutes. If the liquid evaporates quickly, slowly add more water or broth.
  • When the soup is done cooking, remove the bay leaf and rip quarter sized pieces of kale from it’s stems and add it to the soup. Stir to incorporate the kale and remove the soup from the heat. The kale will soften in the hot soup.
  • Serve with crusty bread or homemade garlic bread.

Notes

  1. Fennel looks like a combination of an onion and celery. You can find it in the produce aisle of the grocery store. When it is raw, it has a black licorice/anise smell and taste, but when added to the soup and cooked, it tastes nothing like it does raw. Instead, it lends a subtle sweet flavor to the soup. 
  2. If you don’t have fresh thyme, you can use dried thyme but may need to adjust the measurement since dried thyme has a more concentrated flavor. 
  3. Do not drain the diced tomatoes. The juices provide additional flavor to the vegetable broth.
  4. If you buy quick cooking barley, adjust the cook time according to the directions on the package.
  5. If you don’t have barley on hand or prefer to substitute it with something else, you can replace it with almost any of your favorite grains. Add precooked farro, wheat berries, or small noodles. Or, to make this vegetable, bean, and barley soup gluten free, you can substitute frozen corn, precooked rice, chopped potatoes, lentils, or additional beans in place of the barley.
  6. This soup is great for freezing. Store it in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. When ready to eat it, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then, add the soup to a pot and heat it over medium heat until it is warmed through. If the broth evaporates or gets soaked up by the barley and vegetables, add a splash more broth or water.
Keyword Barley, Dinner Recipe, Fall Recipe, Gluten Free Optional, Healthy Dinner, Healthy Soup, Vegan Recipe, Vegetarian Soup, Weeknight Meal, White Beans

Want more recipes like this delivered right to your inbox?  Be sure to subscribe below and never miss a thing!

2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This soup was fantastic!!! It was so filling and paired well with delicious garlic bread on the side. Loved this filling, healthy recipe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating