There’s something so satisfying about soup! This mushroom and barley version is adapted from a book entitled “Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker” and I hope you really like it. Don’t know what to have as a side dish for a sandwich? Soup almost always fits the bill!

Mushroom and Barley Soup (Vegan)

1 ounce dried mushrooms (cremini work great but use extra fresh mushrooms if you can’t find any…just increase the fresh mushrooms below to about 12 oz.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
1 cup pearl barley
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (12 oz. if not using dried…baby bellas work great, or just just use the common mushroom)
6 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons chives, minced

Place the dried mushrooms in a heatproof measuring cup and cover with hot water. Let sit until softened. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the liquid. Slice mushrooms. Set aside. In a small skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook until softened (5 minutes). Transfer veggies to crockpot and add barley, both kinds of mushrooms, broth, reserved mushroom soaking liquid, thyme and salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours or on high for about 4-5. Serve garnished with chives or fresh dill.

Optional: Stir in a small amount of half and half or soy milk to give it a creamy look and texture.

–Modified from “Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker”

*Note: If you’re lacking for time and want to make it on the stovetop, just follow the recipe but instead of transferring to a crockpot, simmer in a soup pot on the stove for an hour or so until the barley is done.

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