This is the best mushroom barley soup and it will be your go-to recipe during cold and flu season! It’s filled to the brim with immune system boosting ingredients and you can get it on the dinner table in 35 minutes! Vegan, dairy-free, nut-free.
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Ughhh…lately, it seems like everyone around me is coming down with the flu. Unfortunately, I still have to go out into the world and be around all the sickies even though I’d rather just stay in my safe little bubble at home.
I don’t want to get a flu shot so I try to focus on naturally boosting my immune system by taking supplements (vitamin c, zinc, elderberry, oil of oregano) and eating whole foods that are immune system boosting.
The easiest way for me to get a boatload of immune system boosting foods into our diets is by putting them all into one delicious and hearty mushroom and barley soup!
I also like to make this nourishing lemon artichoke orzo soup when we start to feel a cold coming on.
How to Make Mushroom Barley Soup
Pretty much all of the ingredients in this vegan mushroom barley soup recipe will help to give your immune system a massive boost! This bok choy mushroom barley soup is loaded with vitamins and nutrients to help you feel better! I just love the combination of vegetables, fresh ginger, garlic, white miso, and lemon. It tastes so nourishing, you just feel really good eating it. To me, there is nothing better than food that tastes amazing but it makes you feel amazing too.
- Bok Choy – Bok choy is one of the best anti-inflammatory foods you can eat! It’s a cruciferous vegetable that’s loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
- Barley – Barley contains beta-glucan which is a type of fiber that has antimicrobial and antioxidant components that are more potent than echinacea.
- Mushrooms – Mushrooms are selenium, beta-glucan, and antioxidant-rich.
- Onions – Onions are a great source of vitamin C, zinc, and phytochemicals that are very beneficial to your immune system.
- Miso – Miso is antiviral and loaded with gut-loving probiotics.
- Garlic – Garlic is believed to fight infection and bacteria in your body.
- Ginger – Ginger is thought to be antiviral and antibacterial.
- Lemon – Lemons are naturally rich in flavonoids, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
Begin by cooking the barley in a medium sized pot, I prefer to cook it separately so it doesn’t soak up all the broth while it cooks. Meanwhile, start sauteeing the diced onions in olive oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven until they’re translucent. Then add the mushrooms and garlic and saute until the mushrooms start to brown.
Add the bok choy, ginger, vegetable broth, and water to the pot. Bring the barley soup to a simmer and then reduce the heat to medium-low and let it cook (about 5-8 minutes) until the bok choy has softened a little but don’t overcook it.
Take the pot off the heat. Carefully, use a measuring cup to remove some of the broth from the soup pot and put it into a small bowl. Let the liquid cool a little bit and then stir in the miso paste. If you add the miso to boiling hot liquid it will kill all the good gut-loving probiotics. Wait until the soup has cooled down a little bit and then stir in the miso paste broth that you just made, lemon juice, and fresh cilantro. Put a 1/2 cup of barley in a bowl and serve the mushroom barley soup on top of it.
Is Barley Good For Health?
So, it’s pretty obvious that all of the vegetables in this mushroom and barley soup are very good for you but what about the barley? Is barley a good option to use?
- It’s loaded with vitamins and nutrients.
- It can boost your intestinal health.
- It’s high in fiber.
- It can help to lower your cholesterol levels.
- Barley is considered a heart-healthy choice.
Based on these points alone, I’d say that, yes, barley is good for your health. I think it’s a great option to use in your mushroom barley soup recipe. If you’d like to read more about barley and it’s health benefits, read this article.
Do You Cook Barley Before Adding To Soup?
Do you have to cook barley before adding it to the barley soup? No, you don’t have to but I prefer to because I don’t like that it absorbs most of the liquid in the barley soup. Once the barley is in the soup you can’t take it out when you store the leftovers. It’s just easier to control the consistency of the barley soup by cooking the barley separately and then adding it to each serving.
Can You Substitute Quinoa For Barley in Soup?
Yes, you absolutely can substitute quinoa for barley in this vegan mushroom barley soup. Wheat berries, rice, or orzo pasta would also be good options too. I would still follow the same instruction and cook it separately so it doesn’t absorb the soup broth.
What Type of Bok Choy Should You Use?
We loveee baby bok choy! It tastes like a sweet cabbage and it goes so well with many different recipes. You could put it in a stir-fry, cut it in half and serve it in pho, slice it and mix it with cauliflower fried rice, or bake it as a side dish. Just make sure you get the right type of bok choy.
My local market only had the larger “adult” bok choy for the longest time, and it’s just not the same. I prefer the baby bok choy for this recipe because of its sweet flavor and crisp texture in the soup.
This is what you should look for when you pick out baby bok choy:
- Look for the small to medium heads, don’t pick the biggest ones in the bunch.
- Pick the baby bok choy that have the most dark green leaves on top.
- Check the outer layers of the bok choy for brown or wet spots, that’s a sign it’s starting to go bad.
- If you see a variety of bok choy with a green stem with purple leaves, get it! They’re very delicious and anything naturally purple (like these vegan broccoli and cheese stuffed purple sweet potatoes) is antioxidant-rich.
Tips For Making The Best Mushroom Barley Soup
- Cook the barley separately from the soup so it won’t absorb all of the soup broth.
- Don’t add the miso paste to the boiling soup, it will kill the probiotics in the miso. Add it at the end once you’ve taken the soup off the heat.
- Use small heads of baby bok choy instead of a head of mature bok choy because baby bok choy has a sweeter and more delicate flavor.
- Store the leftover barley separately from the soup so it won’t absorb all of the broth and get mushy.
- Use fresh garlic and ginger, the dried seasonings don’t give the same amount of flavor and health benefits to this soup.
More Vegan Soup Recipes You’ll Love!
If you make this vegan bok choy mushroom barley soup, please share your picture on Instagram and tag @StaceyHomemaker so I can see your delicious creation!
Immunity Boosting Bok Choy Mushroom Barley Soup
- 1 cup dry barley
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 small heads of baby bok choy, sliced
- 4 cups vegetable broth (low sodium)
- 1 cup water
- 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 tbsp white miso
- 1/2 large lemon, juiced
- Cilantro for garnish, roughly chopped
- black pepper to taste
- Cook the barley separately so it doesn't absorb all the broth in the soup. Drain it well and set aside.
- In a dutch oven, saute the diced onions in olive oil for 5-8 minutes or until translucent. Add the sliced mushrooms and garlic, saute for 10 minutes.
- Add the sliced baby bok choy, grated ginger, water, and vegetable broth. Cover, bring it to a simmer, then reduce the heat and let cook for 5-8 minutes or until the bok choy is tender but not too soft.
- Take the soup off the heat. Remove one cup of the broth from the soup and put it into a small bowl. Add the miso to the small bowl and whisk it together. Let the soup cool for a few minutes and then pour the miso mixture back into the soup pot and mix it in.
- Stir in fresh lemon juice, pepper, and a handful of cilantro into the soup right before serving.
- Add a 1/4 cup of barley to each soup bowl and serve the soup over the top.
- Store the barley separately from the leftover soup or it will absorb all of the broth in the soup.
- Don't add the miso to the soup too early. Miso is a fermented food, so it has live active cultures that can't survive boiling hot broth. Don't kill the probiotics!
- You can garnish with fresh basil if you don't like cilantro.
- If you don't care for bok choy; napa cabbage, beet greens, spinach, dandelion greens, or kale would be good substitutes.
- You could use quinoa, freekah, orzo, or any small noodle in place of the barley.