Sunday, February 5, 2012

Meatless Monday! Mushroom Barley Soup

Happy Monday! Today is my first posting for Meatless Monday. Some of you may be wondering, why meatless? Don't you like meat? Please understand, I LOVE meat. Lovelovelovelovelove meat. But in the last year or so, I've been really taking a look at our budget, especially our grocery budget. That's where I have complete and total control :) I wanted lower our grocery budget, while still eating delicious, organic and natural foods. It wasn't long before I stumbled upon the concept of cutting meat out of your menu for one day per week. It's not only great for your budget, it reduces your carbon footprint, and it's also a great and healthy way to start the week! We've actually really liked it, and my husband doesn't even notice we're not eating meat.

I found today's recipe on Pinterest, have I mentioned how obsessed you can become with Pinterest?! It's amazing! Anyway, this recipe comes from another blog called, Alisa Cooks, she's got a lot of gluten free and dairy free recipes. The recipe is quick to prepare and has an amazing depth of flavor. It's Mushroom & Barley Soup. It's chalk full of mushrooms, barley (I used pearl barley b/c it's what I had on hand) and seasoned with tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, garlic and thyme. There's just something about the flavor combination of the balsamic vinegar and the thyme that made this taste fancy and kind of French. I absolutely adored it, and was almost surprised at how much my husband liked it. He commented on how delicious it was a few times during lunch, which melts my heart :) This recipe is delicious and low calorie for those of you who care, by my calculations it was (per cup of soup) 92 calories, 1.8g fat, 2.3g fiber, and 5.2g protein. This would be great served up with some sandwiches and/or a salad. We had it with grilled cheese and freshly cut cantaloupe.

The only changes I made was using half the amount of oil, chicken broth instead of beef or mushroom broth and using salt instead of Miso. She also said you can make this in the crock pot on low for 6-8 hours, I might try that next time. You can also add more veggies as you like, such as carrots or celery. Please give this recipe a try, you'll love it!

Mushroom & Barley Soup from Alisa Cooks
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • ½ Medium Onion, slivered (about 1¼ cups)
  • ½ Cup Dry Barley, rinsed (I used the inexpensive pearl barley)
  • 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
Heat the oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions, and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until they are translucent. Reduce the heat just a touch, add the barley, garlic, and thyme, and sauté for another 3 to 5 minutes. 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. 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. Season to taste with additional salt (see my notes in the post above) and black pepper to taste.
Yields 2 hearty, meal-sized servings
I had planned to make this soup crock pot-style, but as usual, I ran out of time. It should do well in a slow cooker; set on low for 6 to 8 hours, allowing the barley time to cook.


  1. Haley,

    Can I use you Meatless Monday logo to make a pin for a Sunday school class I am conducting on ethical eating? I want something I can give to the kids to remind them about why we shouldn't eat animals. Thanks,

    Roland L. Halpern
    www.seventhprinciple. com

  2. Hi Roland,

    You can use the logo :)