Frugal Foodie Friday: Mushroom Barley Soup


Well, technically, if you are making my version of Mushroom Barley Soup, it should actually be classified as a stew. Both my husband and I love barley, so I feel no need to use moderation when adding the pearly grain. So many recipes I see for this type of soup use a paltry 1/3 cup of dried barley with 8 cups of broth – ridiculous! But this recipe is filled with barley and mushrooms; it makes a hearty meal for two, or a light lunch for three. And when I say hearty, I mean it. I am sitting here typing this with an ever-expanding belly having just downed a large bowl of this fulfilling soup!

Hearty Mushroom Barley Soup - Dairy-Free

While I do recommend beef broth, chicken broth or no chicken broth could be subbed in a pinch, and I think the mushroom broth from Pacific Foods would be good! Also feel free to add any vegetables you have on hand. Diced carrots and celery would both be a delicious touch!

Special Diet Notes: Mushroom Barley Soup

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

Mushroom Barley Soup
Serves: 2
  • 1 tablespoon oil (I used grapeseed, but olive or vegetable will do)
  • ½ medium onion, slivered (about 1¼ cups)
  • ½ cup dry barley, rinsed (I used pearl)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced (or about 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 8 ounces sliced button or cremini mushrooms
  • 4 cups (1 quart) beef or mushroom broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ -1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon miso paste (or simply more salt to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until they are translucent.
  3. Reduce the heat just a touch, add the barley, garlic, and thyme, and sauté for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the mushrooms, followed by the broth, tomato paste, vinegar, bay leaf, and I would start with ¼ teaspoon of salt and the miso if using.
  5. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and allow the soup to simmer for at least 1 hour, or until the barley is nice and tender.
  6. Season to taste with additional salt and black pepper to taste.

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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