Saturday, December 10, 2011

Winter Vegetarian Pearl Barley Soup

As gusty wind is hitting furiously in our neck of the woods past two days, temperature has predictably gone low. Well in this weather all we need is this comforting bowl of piping hot soup. Luckily it was sunny today but there was a sudden amount of chill in the air.

I was doing grocery shopping the other day and when I passed near the world food cuisine section, I picked up my favorite couscous as usual. And then my eyes got stuck on simple white shinning grains. When I picked it up it looked more like wheat kernels but then they were white not golden yellow.
I looked up the label and it said pearl barley. Pearl barley is -well why I should tell you. Jokes apart read read here in wiki  to know more about it.
Not to be confused with hulled barley where the outer important shield is retain which gives even more nutrition.

There is nothing royal about this recipe, no exotic ingredients being used, but believe me this taste just heaven. I mean a simple soup can really fill you up and it’s ridiculously simple, what more can I add about it. I really wonder why I haven’t come across this great source of nutrition earlier.
DH finished his bowl of soup like hot cake and helped himself with second helping. Then it was my DD’s turn to have her second helping. And I was so delighted that how a simple dish like this can bring our dinner table alive. I started wondering why pearl barley hasn’t received its due credit.

I searched our reliable source internet for various barley recipes. And many of them have beef, or lamb or chicken, but were looking for a vegetarian option. So came up with this recipe. However I would suggest reading this, this and this   post for other interesting pearl barley soup recipes as well.

Although any root vegetables like carrot/parsnip etc or leek/celery is used to make barley soup, but I had none at the time of making this soup. When I opened my fridge I saw some mushrooms and carrots. Well of course I had onion and garlic. So, based on these ingredients I started to make this soup.
I do think pearl barley need 35-45 mints of proper cooking. I was in hurry so, I pressure cook the pearl barley. And it was ready in 10 mints.

All you people just try making it, you won’t be disappointed.

Winter Vegetarian Barley soup

Recipe Requirements (Serves 3-4 )

  • Pearl barley- Roughly  1 to 1 and half cup
  • 1 cup of pasta ( fusilli or penne works fine)
  • Vegetables of your choice
  • I happen to use about 2-3 large carrots and
  • About 200 gms of mushroom
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 2-3 large tomatoes


  • 1and 1/2  tsp of Salt
  • ½ tsp of Crushed chilly flakes or 1 tsp of black pepper powder
  • 2 tsp of dried thyme or fresh thyme which ever is available
  • Little bit of sugar (optional)


  • Chop all the vegetables roughly into equal size.
  • Pressure cook barley for one whistle at high. Stop the flame and then open when pressure subsides properly.
  • Meanwhile chop tomatoes in half and make roughly 4-5 slices. Transfer them to baking pan. Drizzle cooking oil over them.
  • Preheat oven at 200 deg and roast tomatoes for 20-25 mints.This way they tend to retain even more flavour.
  • Now bring a large pot with water to boil. Add all the chopped vegetables, pasta and half of roasted tomatoes.
  • Open the pressure cooker lid; add in other half roasted tomato. This time add more water about 2 large cups.
  • Mix the ingredients in two pots in to a large cooking pot. Cover and cook until pasta is tender , about 10 mints.
  • You may wish then puree the ¼ part of the soup for the thick and creamy soup version.

Note -

  • One thing should be kept in mind is that since this soup has barley and pasta both this tend to soak the gravy a lot. So, you may see that at the time of serving it turns out thick. So, keeping in mind this it’s necessary to add enough water or any broth/stock before hand in ample amount.
  • You may use ready-made vegetable or chicken broth for this soup. I didn’t wish to do, so I made it all from scratch.
  • Serve warm with some cheese. I didn’t like it with cheese but my daughter likes this soup with mozzarella cheese. Enjoy this warm bowl of soup after a day’s hard work or even just for yourself as a real soul warming treat.Don't tell me you need a reason for that.

Have a nice weekend and Happy Cooking Friends.


  1. An incredible super filling soup for this winter..

  2. Hearty soup perfect for grey and cold weather. Second chobi ta amar favorite! Darun...

  3. Ooh, looks perfect for the weird, rainy and not-so-cold weather we're having here in Texas. Thanks for posting!

  4. Priya,

    thanks for liking the pic and the soup recipe.

    Warm welcome and thanks for liking his soup recipe.

    hugs and smiles


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