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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 2 votes
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