Umami Rich Mushroom Barley Kale Soup (A Medley Of Herbs)

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Dive into the rustic goodness of our Mushroom Barley Kale Soup, a hearty bowl that’s sure to nourish your soul. This robust soup is packed with juicy, earthy mushrooms, chewy barley, and vibrant kale, creating a symphony of textures and flavors that’s simply irresistible. The rich, savory broth, infused with a medley of herbs and spices, adds an extra layer of warmth and complexity, making it the perfect comfort food for those chilly days and nights. A true hug in a bowl!

Born in a tiny kitchen in downtown Portland, my journey with Mushroom Barley Kale Soup began one chilly autumn day. The vibrant emerald hue of the kale was like a symbol of vitality, the barley a comforting nod to the rustic heartiness of ancient grains, and the mushrooms – earthy whispers of nature’s bounty. 

Mushroom Barley Kale Soup

One sip of this magical concoction transported me to a world where health, warmth, and a symphony of flavors converged. My heart still holds that perfect moment when this soup danced on my palate, filling me with joy and a sense of homecoming. This isn’t just a meal but a story written by Mother Nature herself. 

A celebration of earthy elements crafted into a dish of love that nourishes the body and soul. I am excited to share this experience and invite you to join me on this mouthwatering journey. Dive into the warm, delectable bowl of Mushroom Barley Kale Soup, a canvas painted with delicious natural colors.

What Is Mushroom Barley Kale Soup?

Mushroom Barley Kale Soup is a hearty, healthy dish. It’s packed with mushrooms, full of earthy flavor. Barley adds a chewy texture and boosts nutrition.

Kale brings a pop of color and is rich in vitamins. All simmer together in a flavorful broth. 

It’s the perfect meal for cold days. This soup warms your body and fills you up. It’s easy to make and loved by all. In short, Mushroom Barley Kale Soup is a nourishing bowl of goodness.

Mushroom Barley Kale Soup

Can You Vary The Mushroom Barley Kale Soup With Other Ingredients? 

Absolutely, the Mushroom Barley Kale Soup can be easily adapted to cater to various dietary needs and preferences:

  • Vegan and Vegetarian Variations For a vegan or vegetarian version, swap the chicken or turkey broth with vegetable broth and replace the chicken sausage with a plant-based substitute or additional vegetables like bell peppers or zucchini. Skip the cheese or use a vegan cheese substitute.
  • Gluten-Free Variation Barley contains gluten, so for a gluten-free version, you could use gluten-free grains like quinoa or rice instead. Ensure your sausage and broth are also gluten-free.
  • Paleo and Whole30 Variations These diets exclude grains and legumes, so that you could replace barley with cauliflower rice for a Paleo or Whole30-compliant version. Also, ensure to use a sausage that is free from added sugars and fillers not compliant with these diets. 
Mushroom Barley Kale Soup

Recipe Directions

  1. Mix the rich broth, hearty barley, and aromatic onion in a Dutch oven. 
  2. Allow the mixture to come to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 25-30 minutes until the barley is tender
  3. Introduce the savory sausage, vibrant greens, earthy mushrooms, and a tantalizing cheese rind. 
  4. Stir until the greens collapse and the flavors meld. Adjust the consistency with water if needed. 
  5. Simmer partially covered for an additional 15 minutes to allow the flavors to develop further. 
  6. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your preference. 
  7. Serve the hot and comforting Rhubarb Lentil Soup, relishing each spoonful of its nourishing goodness and delightful combination of textures and flavors.
Mushroom Barley Kale Soup

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings

Mushroom Barley Kale Soup offers a perfect canvas for experimentation. Here are some variations, add-ons, and toppings you can try:


  • Protein-packed: Add cooked lentils, beans, or tofu for a protein boost.
  • Creamy: Swirl in some coconut milk or cream at the end for a creamy twist.
  • Spicy: Toss in a pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne for a spicy kick.


  • More Veggies: Experiment with different vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, celery, or carrots.
  • Grains: Swap barley with other grains like farro, quinoa, or brown rice for a change in texture and taste.
  • Herbs: Fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or parsley can add a delightful fragrance and flavor.


  • Cheese: A sprinkle of extra grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Asiago cheese adds a layer of savory richness.
  • Crunch: Add toasted bread crumbs, croutons, or roasted nuts for a delightful crunch.
  • Freshness: A sprinkle of fresh herbs or a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving can elevate the freshness of the soup.
Mushroom Barley Kale Soup

Can I Make Mushroom Barley Kale Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot?

Absolutely! The Mushroom Barley Kale Soup can easily be adapted for a slow cooker or Instant Pot. Here are the general guidelines:

Slow Cooker

  • Add broth, barley, chopped onion, diced sausage, chopped greens, sliced mushrooms, and the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Ensure that the barley is tender and the flavors are well combined.
  • Prior to serving, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If needed, add water to adjust the soup’s consistency.
  • Serve hot with a garnish of extra cheese, if desired.

Instant Pot

  • Using the sauté mode, cook the sausage and onion in the Instant Pot until the onions are softened.
  • Add the mushrooms and cook until they release their juices.
  • Add the broth, barley, greens, and the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind. Stir to combine.
  • Cover the pot and set it on the ‘Soup’ setting. Cook for 25 minutes on high pressure.
  • Once done, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then quick release the remaining pressure.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. If needed, you can add water or extra broth to adjust the soup’s consistency.
  • Serve hot with a garnish of extra cheese, if desired.
Mushroom Barley Kale Soup

Can I Use Store Bought Broth Or Should I Make My Own?

Both store-bought broth and homemade broth can be used for the Mushroom Barley Kale Soup. The choice depends on your preference, dietary needs, and time constraints.

  • Store-Bought Broth: This is a convenient option, especially when you’re short on time. Always look for low-sodium versions to control the salt content of your soup. If you have dietary restrictions or allergies, be sure to read the ingredients list, as some broths may contain additives or allergens.
  • Homemade Broth: Making your own broth can be more time-consuming, but it allows you to control the ingredients and flavor profile. Homemade broths are often richer in flavor than store-bought ones, and you can make them in large batches to freeze for later use.
Mushroom Barley Kale Soup

How To Serve?

Serving Mushroom Barley Kale Soup is all about enhancing its warm, comforting nature. Here are some suggestions:

  • Serve Hot: This soup is best served hot. Its hearty ingredients and robust flavors are most enjoyable when warmed.
  • Garnish: Before serving, add a garnish like grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Asiago cheese, a sprinkle of fresh herbs, or freshly ground black pepper. This adds another layer of flavor and makes the dish visually appealing.
  • Accompaniments: Serve the soup with a side of crusty bread or a fresh salad to create a balanced meal. It could be served alongside a sandwich or grilled cheese for a heartier option.
  • In A Bread Bow: For a fun, hearty, and edible serving dish, consider serving the soup in a bread bowl.
  • Individual Portions: If you’re hosting, consider serving the soup in individual bowls or mini Dutch ovens for a visually appealing presentation.
Mushroom Barley Kale Soup

Perfect Side Dishes

The heartiness of Mushroom Barley Kale Soup makes it a meal in itself, but it can also be paired with various side dishes for a complete dining experience:

  • Sandwiches: A simple grilled cheese sandwich or a more elaborate panini with turkey, cranberry, and brie could complement the flavors of the soup.
  • Salads: A crisp salad would make a light, refreshing contrast. Try a simple green salad, a tangy slaw, or a robust salad like Caesar or Greek.
  • Crusty Bread: A slice of crusty bread or a warm, freshly baked roll is always a great choice to soak up every last bit of the soup.
  • First Course Options: If you’re serving the soup as a starter, pair it with a main dish like roasted chicken or turkey, a hearty pasta dish, or a vegetarian option like stuffed bell peppers or eggplant parmesan.
  • Roasted Vegetables: A side of roasted autumn vegetables like squash, brussels sprouts, or sweet potatoes would add a sweet and earthy element that pairs well with the soup.
Mushroom Barley Kale Soup

Storage And Make Ahead

Here are some simple tips for storage and make ahead:

  • Cooling: Allow the soup to cool to room temperature quickly by placing the pot in a sink filled with ice water, stirring occasionally for even cooling.
  • Refrigeration: Transfer the cooled soup into airtight containers and store it in the refrigerator. Properly stored, Mushroom Barley Kale Soup can last for 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: This soup freezes well, despite the barley which may absorb more liquid upon reheating. Freeze in portioned, freezer-safe containers or bags, leaving some space for expansion. It can be stored frozen for up to 2-3 months.
  • Reheating: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator if frozen. Reheat on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Since barley absorbs a lot of liquid, you may need to add extra broth or water when reheating to achieve your desired consistency.

Make-Ahead Tips:

  • Prep Vegetables: Chop your mushrooms, onions, carrots, and any other vegetables you’re using ahead of time. Store them in the refrigerator to save on prep time.
  • Cook Barley Separately: To prevent the barley from becoming too mushy, especially if you plan to freeze the soup, consider cooking it separately and adding it to individual servings when serving.
  • Assemble the Base: Cook the soup base with the aromatics, mushrooms, and broth ahead of time. You can refrigerate this base and add the kale (and barley if you didn’t cook it separately) when reheating the soup to preserve the kale’s color and nutrients.
  • Season Last: Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, or any additional herbs and spices after reheating the soup. Flavors can change during storage, so it’s always best to do a final taste test and adjust as necessary.
  • Portion for Convenience: If making the soup primarily for future meals, consider portioning it into individual servings before freezing. This makes it easier to thaw and reheat only what you need.
Mushroom Barley Kale Soup

What Can We Do With Leftovers?

Leftover Mushroom Barley Kale Soup can be easily repurposed into other dishes:

  • Stew or Casserole: If the soup has thickened after sitting, it can be turned into a stew or casserole. Add some additional veggies or protein, top with cheese or breadcrumbs, and bake until bubbly and golden.
  • Pasta Sauce: Use the soup as a chunky sauce over pasta. Heat the soup, toss with cooked pasta, and sprinkle with some additional cheese.
  • Grain Bowl: Use the soup as a base for a grain bowl. Add some fresh veggies, a protein like chicken or tofu, and a dollop of yogurt or a drizzle of tahini for a hearty, healthy meal.
  • Reheat and Eat: The simplest way to enjoy leftovers is to reheat and eat. The flavors continue to develop and deepen over time, making the soup even more delicious the next day.


  • Choose the Right Mushrooms: A mix of mushrooms such as cremini, shiitake, and portobello will add depth and a variety of textures. Fresh mushrooms are preferable for their flavor, but dried mushrooms can be rehydrated and used for an intense umami boost.
  • Rinse Barley: Always rinse pearl barley under cold water before cooking to remove any dust or impurities.
  • Sauté Mushrooms Well: Start by sautéing the mushrooms in a bit of oil or butter until they’re browned and all the moisture has evaporated. This concentrates their flavor.
  • Build Flavor with Aromatics: Sauté onions, garlic, and carrots before adding the broth. This foundational step infuses the soup with aromatic flavors.
  • Use Quality Broth: A good vegetable or mushroom broth can significantly enhance the overall taste of the soup. Homemade broth is ideal, but a high-quality store-bought broth works well too.
  • Cook Barley Separately: Consider cooking the barley separately and adding it to the soup towards the end of cooking. This prevents it from absorbing too much broth and becoming too mushy, especially if you plan to store or freeze the soup.
  • Add Kale at the End: Kale cooks quickly, so add it towards the end of the cooking process to retain its vibrant color, texture, and nutrients.
Umami Rich Mushroom Barley Kale Soup (A Medley Of Herbs)

Umami Rich Mushroom Barley Kale Soup (A Medley Of Herbs)

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Course: Soups u0026amp; Broths


Prep time


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Mushroom Barley Kale Soup is a hearty, nutritious dish that beautifully marries earthy flavors and comforting textures. The chewy barley, umami-rich mushrooms, and vibrant, nutrient-packed kale simmer together in a savory broth, creating a symphony of tastes in each spoonful.


  • 5 cups 5 Homemade chicken/turkey broth

  • 1 cup 1 Pearl barley

  • 1 1 Medium onion, chopped

  • 12 oz 12 Chicken sausage (fully cooked)

  • 8-10 oz 8-10 Kale, spinach, or a mix

  • 4 oz 4 Cremini mushrooms, sliced

  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind (To taste)

  • Kosher salt (To taste)

  • Fresh black pepper (To taste)

  • Extra Parmigiano-Reggiano or Asiago cheese for garnish (optional) (As required)

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Start by preparing your Dutch oven or heavy stock pot. Into this, pour the broth. Add the barley and chopped onion. Mix these ingredients well, ensuring they are evenly distributed.
  • Place the Dutch oven over high heat. Once the mixture reaches boiling point, reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot to retain the heat and allow the ingredients to cook gently. This should take about 25 to 30 minutes. By this time, the barley should be soft and easy to chew.
  • Now it’s time to add more layers to your soup. Toss in the diced sausage, your chosen greens, sliced mushrooms, and the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind. Stir the mixture two or three times. You’ll notice the greens starting to wilt or collapse into the soup.
  • If the soup appears too thick or needs more liquid, feel free to add up to a cup of water. Once done, partially cover the pot, leaving a small gap to let some steam escape. Let this simmer for another 15 minutes. During this time, the greens should fully wilt and the cheese rind will infuse its flavor into the broth.
  • The last step is to fine-tune the taste. Season with kosher salt and fresh black pepper according to your preference.
  • Your Mushroom Barley Kale Soup is now ready to serve. Make sure it’s served hot for the best experience. Enjoy!
  • Ladle
  • Stirring Spoon 
  • Measuring Cups And Spoons
  • Sharp Knife And Cutting Board
  • Dutch Oven or Heavy Stock Pot


  • Customization: Feel free to customize the soup with your favorite vegetables, proteins, or spices. It’s a versatile recipe that encourages creativity.
  • Broth: The broth plays a significant role in the soup’s flavor. Opt for a high-quality store-bought broth or make your own for the best results.
  • Storage: The soup stores well, making it ideal for meal prep. The flavors deepen over time, enhancing its taste after a day or two.
  • Dietary Needs: The soup can be easily adjusted to cater to various dietary needs – vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, low-sodium, or low-sugar.
  • Garnish: A sprinkle of cheese or fresh herbs before serving adds a gourmet touch and an extra layer of flavor.
  • Enjoy: Lastly, enjoy the cooking process and the comforting, hearty bowl of soup it yields!

Nutrition Table

Mushroom Barley Kale Soup

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You've entered a realm where each bowl isn't just a meal; it's an expedition to the core of comfort, well-being, and the sheer delight of feeding both body and soul. My name is Julia, and I'm here to navigate you through the flavorful worlds of Soup Chick. Together, we'll uncover the artistry behind each recipe, share stories that warm the heart, and celebrate the simple pleasures of making and enjoying soup.

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