Frugal Foodie Friday: Chicken Barley Soup for the Soul


Intentions to post up numerous recipes in December were quickly thwarted by that lovely time of year known as the holidays. Planning for parties, shopping for gifts, decorating, and (alas) a bad cold interrupted work schedules and free time alike. I wasn’t sick myself, but my poor husband had lingering cold. Even when he isn’t sick, he loves soup. So with the sniffles, sneezing, and coughing on the go, I did my best to keep him stocked with warm liquids. This particular Chicken Barley Soup has been on repeat for many months now.

Chicken Barley Soup

When I first made it, my husband asked, “Where did you learn to make such good soup?” I wasn’t sure whether or not to take that as a compliment, but I did take it as a firm nod of approval. This chicken barley soup couldn’t be much easier to make either! It’s a great way to use up any vegetables you have in your fridge and a delicious way to transform leftover chicken.

Special Diet Notes: Chicken Barley Soup

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and soy-free.

Frugal Foodie Friday: Chicken Barley Soup for the Soul
Serves: 2
  • 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons grapeseed oil or other neutral-tasting cooking oil (depending on how many veggies you use)
  • 1 to 2 medium carrots, diced (I usually use 1 medium to large carrot)
  • ¼ of a medium nion, slivered or diced
  • ½ cup sliced celery, about ¼-inch thick (optional – I just use if I have some on hand)
  • ¼ cup pearl barley
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 cups chicken broth (I always buy Imagine Organic brand on sale, it is our favorite)
  • 6 to 8 ounces chicken, shredded or cubed (I have used leftover Cornish game hens, roasted chicken, and freshly baked boneless skinless chicken breasts)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Ground pepper, to taste (optional)
  1. Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion, and celery (if using), and sauté for a few minutes, or until the onions soften.
  2. Add the barley and thyme, and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Finally, add the broth, chicken, and salt and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to low and cover.
  4. Allow the soup to simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the barley reaches your desired tenderness. Usually this takes exactly 45 minutes, but a couple of times I had to allow it to simmer for an extra 10 minutes.
  5. Season to taste with fresh ground pepper, if desired.


About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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