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a bowl of mushroom barley soup

Mushroom Barley Soup, a Jewish Version

This simple and hearty soup is a great way to warm up on a cold evening. Enjoy it with a hunk of good, sourdough bread and you've got a full meal. 

Course Soup
Cuisine Jewish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Laura


  • 1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes, with their juice
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1-2 small onions, cut into half moons (about 1 cup)
  • 2-3 stalks celery chopped, including the leaves of inner stalks
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 red, yellow or orange pepper, chopped into ½-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup pearled barley, rinsed
  • 3 small carrots, cut into coins
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 8 ounces button (white) or baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Empty the tomatoes into the pot. Roughly cut them with a spoon, so that you have chunks of tomato and the juice runs out. Add the vegetable broth, onion slices, chopped parsley, chopped bell pepper, and barley.

    putting tomatoes into pot for mushroom barley soup
  2. Bring the soup to a boil, cover the pot and let it simmer for approximately 90 minutes, stirring just a few times to make sure that the ingredients are all submerged in the liquid.

    adding ingredients to mushroom barley soup
  3. After 90 minutes, add the carrots, mushrooms, dill, salt and pepper. Continuing cooking the soup, covered, at a simmer for about another 10-15 minutes, until the carrots are just barely cooked through.

    mushroom barley soup ready to eat

Recipe Notes

If you are making the soup ahead of time, the barley will expand to absorb most of the liquid. In order to keep the dish more soup-like, make the "base" without the barley and cook it for only about 45 minutes before cooling it down. When you are ready to serve the soup, re-heat it, add the barley and bring the soup back to a simmer, cooking it until the barley is soft enough to eat (probably 20-30 minutes) before adding the carrots, mushrooms, etc.