Spicy Barley Soup To Create Magic In Kitchen With Delicious Ingredients

Imagine a bowl of warmth, brimming with vibrant flavors, textures, and enticing aromas that captivate your senses right at the first spoonful. Welcome to the world of Beef Barley Soup, a culinary masterpiece combining humble grains and a symphony of spices. Discover a flavorful and comforting spicy barley soup recipe. Perfect for chilly days, this recipe will warm you up with every spoonful.

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Beef Barley Soup The Best Cuisine

This isn’t just another soup recipe – it’s an experience, a journey from the heart of the grain fields to the spark of your stovetop. The robust and earthy barley harmonizes with the fiery spices, conjuring a dish that is as nourishing as it is tantalizing. 

Our Barley Soup recipe invites you to delve into a new culinary adventure, perfect for the heat-seekers yet comforting for those chilly nights.

Let’s embark on this gastronomic journey, transforming simple ingredients into a pot of rich, warming, and utterly delicious Beef Barley Soup. Here’s how you can create this magic in your kitchen.

What Is Beef Barley Soup?

Beef barley soup is a savory, hot, and hearty dish that combines barley’s robust and earthy flavors with a medley of vegetables and spices. The term “spicy” in the name usually refers to adding ingredients like cayenne pepper, chili flakes, or other hot spices. Still, the heat level can be adjusted according to personal preference.

The foundation of this soup is barley, a versatile grain known for its chewy texture and nutty flavor. It is often paired with vegetables, such as carrots, celery, onions, and tomatoes, then simmered in a rich broth. Adding spices adds a kick of heat and deepens the soup’s flavor profile, making it a comforting and satisfying meal.

Spicy barley soup can be a standalone dish due to its hearty nature, but it’s also commonly served as a starter or side. It’s especially popular during colder months, but its bright, spicy flavor can be appreciated all year round.

History And Origin Of Spicy Barley Soup 

While not tied to a specific origin like New England Clam Chowder, Spicy Barley Soup is a versatile dish that borrows elements from various culinary traditions. Barley, a nutritious and hearty grain, has been used in cooking for thousands of years across diverse cultures, from ancient Rome and Greece to medieval Europe and Asia.

The history of using barley in soup traces back to these ancient civilizations, and its preparation has been adapted based on regional preferences, available ingredients, and cultural tastes.

Spicy Barley Soup is a modern, international dish that integrates diverse culinary traditions. The grain’s universal appeal, combined with spices and other regional ingredients, has created numerous unique, flavorful, and nourishing recipes known as Spicy Barley Soup.

It’s a testament to the adaptability of barley as a key ingredient and the global love for a warm, comforting bowl of soup.

Interesting Facts About Spicy Barley Soup

Soup is a timeless and universal dish steeped in history and fascinating facts. Here are some interesting points:

  • Global Phenomenon: Almost every culture worldwide has its own soup variations. These recipes have been passed down through generations, often reflecting each region’s unique culinary traditions and local ingredients.
  • Ancient Cuisine: Soup is one of the oldest forms of food, dating back to around 20,000 BC. The first soups were likely simple broths made by boiling meat in water.
  • Soup Kitchens: The concept of soup kitchens dates back to the 18th century in London when they were established to provide inexpensive meals for people experiencing poverty. The soup was ideal as it could be made in bulk, was filling, and could be stretched to feed many people.
  • Medicinal Purposes: Soup has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. In many cultures, certain soups are believed to help with illnesses such as colds and the flu. Chicken soup, in particular, is famous worldwide as a comforting meal when one is ill.
  • Portable Soup: In the 18th century, portable soup, a concentrated, dried version, was carried by explorers on long journeys and voyages. It was a compact, long-lasting source of nutrition.
  • The Invention of Canned Soup: Canned soup was invented in the 19th century, with Campbell’s, an American food company, being one of the pioneers. It revolutionized how people consumed soup, allowing for quick and easy meals.
  • World’s Most Expensive Soup: The most expensive soup in the world is reportedly Buddha Jumps Over the Wall, a Chinese delicacy filled with luxury ingredients like shark fin, abalone, sea cucumber, and rare mushrooms. A bowl can cost several hundred dollars.
  • Soup & Health: Soup, when made with wholesome ingredients, Soup is often low in fat and fiber. It’s also packed with vitamins and minerals, making it a nutrient-dense meal option.

What Makes Spicy Barley Soup Special? 

Soup has a unique place in cuisines across the world, and its specialness can be attributed to several factors:

  • Versatility: Soup is incredibly versatile. It can be made from virtually any ingredient, including vegetables, meats, grains, legumes, dairy, and even fruits. This diversity allows it to fit into nearly any dietary preference or restriction, from vegan to gluten-free.
  • Comfort: A hot soup bowl can offer comfort and warmth, especially in cold weather. Many people associate soup with nurturing, whether it’s chicken soup for a cold or a grandmother’s special recipe.
  • Health: Soup can be a powerhouse of nutrition. Packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and proteins, a well-balanced soup can serve as a complete meal. Plus, its high water content can contribute to feelings of fullness, potentially aiding in weight management.
  • Culinary expression: Soup offers a perfect canvas for showcasing a culture’s flavors and culinary techniques. From the complex ramen broths in Japan to the rustic vegetable soups of Mediterranean cuisine, soup tells a culinary story.
  • Ease and convenience: Soups can generally be made in one pot, simplifying cooking and cleanup. They’re also ideal for batch cooking and leftovers, as the flavors often deepen over time.
  • Healing properties:Many cultures attribute healing properties to specific soups, using them as home remedies for common illnesses. For example, chicken soup is often served to those with colds or flu.
History And Origin Of Spicy Barley Soup 

Ingredients List

Canola Oil1 Tbsp
Large Onions, Diced2
Large Garlic Clove, Minced1
Fresh Cremini / Button Mushrooms, Sliced1/4 lb
Vegetable Stock (or Chicken Stock)8 Cups
Large Carrot, Thinly Sliced1
Large Celery Stalks, Thinly Slice2
Tomato Paste3 Tbsp
Rutabaga or Turnip, Peeled and Dice1/2 Cup
Pearl Barley1/4 Cup
Fresh Parsley Leaves, Roughly Choppe1/4 Cup
Large Bay Leaves2
Dried Marjoram Leaves1 tsp
Dried Thyme Leaf1/2 tsp
Powdered Mustard1/2 tsp
Celery Seed1/4 tsp
Cayenne Pepper (more or less, to taste)Dash
Black Pepper, or to Taste1/4 tsp
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (Optional)1/2 Cup

For Garnishing: 

Here is a list of possible garnishes for your Spicy Barley Soup:

Fresh Parsley2 tablespoons, chopped
Fresh Cilantro2 tablespoons, chopped
Lemon WedgesAs per preference
Grated Parmesan2 tablespoons
Sour Cream2 tablespoons
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds2 tablespoons
Freshly Ground Black PepperTo taste
Red Pepper FlakesTo taste

Ingredient Tips

Some ingredient tips for your Spicy Barley Soup:

  • Vegetable Stock: Homemade stock can significantly enhance the flavor of your soup. If you’re using store-bought, choose a low-sodium version to control the salt content.
  • Fresh Herbs: While the recipe calls for dried marjoram and thyme using fresh herbs can give your soup a brighter, more vibrant flavor. Just remember the ratio—1 teaspoon of dried herbs is equivalent to 1 tablespoon of fresh ones.
  • Mushrooms: Cremini mushrooms will provide a deeper, earthier flavor than button mushrooms. You could also try wild mushrooms for a unique taste.
  • Barley: Rinse your barley under cold water before adding it to the soup. This removes any residual dust or debris and prevents the soup from getting cloudy.
  • Tomato Paste: Tomato paste adds depth and a hint of sweetness to the soup. If it’s not readily available, you can use chopped canned tomatoes or even a few tablespoons of ketchup in a pinch.
  • Spices: Feel free to adjust the spices to your liking. For additional complexity, you can add more cayenne if you prefer a spicier soup or add other spices like turmeric or paprika.
  • Cheese: While Parmigiano-Reggiano is an excellent choice, feel free to experiment with different cheeses. A smoked gouda or sharp cheddar could also work well.

Can You Vary The Soup With Other Ingredients?

This Spicy Barley Soup recipe can be modified to fit various dietary preferences and needs. Here are some suggestions for alterations:

  • Keto 

The ketogenic diet requires low-carb, high-fat foods. Barley is high in carbs and wouldn’t fit into a keto diet. You can replace barley with lower-carb options like cauliflower rice or chopped zucchini. Also, add more high-fat foods such as cream or cheese to the soup.

  • Paleo 

The paleo diet excludes grains, so you must replace the barley. Options could include root vegetables like turnips, parsnips, or cauliflower rice. You might also want to ensure the broth you use is paleo-friendly – homemade would be a great option if available.

  • Gluten-Free 

Barley contains gluten, so for a gluten-free version of this soup, you could substitute the barley with buckwheat, quinoa, or rice (ensure they are labeled gluten-free). Also, double-check that your broth is gluten-free.

  • Whole30 

The Whole30 program excludes grains, legumes, dairy, and added sugars. Replace barley with a compliant vegetable like sweet potatoes or butternut squash. Make sure the broth you use is Whole30-compliant, without any non-compliant additives.

The Soup With Other Ingredients

Recipe Directions

Let’s delve into the detailed cooking process for your Spicy Barley Soup:

  • Preparation: In a 5-quart Dutch oven or stock pot, combine 1 tbsp canola oil, 2 diced onions, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/4 lb mushrooms, and 2 tbsp vegetable or chicken stock. Sauté over medium heat until onions are tender, around 4-5 minutes. Add more stock if needed to prevent sticking.
  • Sauté: Add sliced carrots, celery, tomato paste, rutabaga or turnip, pearl barley, and a mix of herbs and spices (fresh parsley, bay leaves, dried marjoram, dried thyme, powdered mustard, celery seed, cayenne pepper, and black pepper) to the pot.
  • Bring to Boil: Bring the soup to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for about 1.5 hours until the barley is tender and the soup thickens.
  • Skim: After cooking, discard any excess oil from the soup’s surface with a large spoon.
  • Serve: Optionally, garnish with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for added flavor and creaminess. Enjoy your hearty mushroom barley soup!
      your Spicy Barley Soup

      Variations, Add-On And Toppings

      Soups are versatile, allowing numerous add-ons and variations to change their flavor, texture, and nutritional content. Here are a few suggestions for the Spicy Barley Soup:

      • Protein Additions: Add grilled chicken, cooked shrimp, diced ham, or tofu for extra protein.
      • Extra Vegetables: Enhance the nutrient content by adding extra veggies such as zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, or kale.
      • Grains/Pasta: Besides barley, add other grains like rice, quinoa, or even small pasta shapes.
      • Beans/Legumes: Beans like black beans, chickpeas, or lentils can add protein and fiber.
      • Different Spices: Experiment with different spices or herbs to change the flavor profile. Try adding turmeric for its health benefits, or some thyme or rosemary for a more robust flavor.
      • Cheese: Stirring in a little grated Parmesan or cheddar cheese can add a lovely richness.
      • Creaminess: For a creamier soup, stir in some cream, coconut milk, or a dollop of Greek yogurt (ensure it’s dairy-free for vegan diets).
      • Heat: For extra spiciness, add more cayenne pepper, some fresh jalapenos, or a dash of hot sauce.

      Scaling The Recipe

      Scaling a recipe up or down is often necessary when you’re cooking for a larger group or only a few people. Here are some general tips for scaling the Spicy Barley Soup recipe:

      Scaling Up

      • To make twice as much soup, double all the ingredients. This means you’ll use 2 cups of barley, 4 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 onions, 6 cloves of garlic, 4 carrots, 4 celery stalks, 2 red bell peppers, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 12 cups of vegetable broth, and so on. 
      • The cooking time should be roughly the same, but you might need a bit longer to boil the larger volume of soup.

      Scaling Down

      • To make half as much soup, divide all the ingredient amounts by two. So, you’ll use 1/2 cup of barley, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 an onion, 1-2 cloves of garlic, 1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, 1/2 a bell pepper, 1/2 can of diced tomatoes, 3 cups of vegetable broth, and so on. 
      • Again, the cooking time should be roughly the same, but it might take a bit less time to boil the smaller volume of soup.

      What Is Used For Soup Garnishing?

      Garnishing the soup will not only add visual appeal but can also enhance the flavors and textures of the soup. Here are some ideas for garnishes:

      • Fresh Herbs: Chopped fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, or basil can add a burst of fresh flavor and a pop of color.
      • Croutons: Toasted bread cubes can provide a delightful crunch.
      • Cheese: A sprinkle of cheese like feta or parmesan can add a salty, tangy flavor. If you’re vegan, consider nutritional yeast for a similar effect.
      • Seeds/Nuts: Roasted seeds or nuts like pumpkin seeds or slivered almonds can add a pleasant crunch and extra nutrients.
      • A Drizzle of Oil: A drizzle of high-quality olive oil or infused oils like chili or garlic oil can add a rich flavor.
      • Sour Cream or Yogurt: A dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt adds creaminess and helps to balance the heat of the soup. For a vegan option, consider a plant-based sour cream or yogurt.
      • Freshly Ground Black Pepper: A sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper can enhance the flavors of the soup and add a bit of heat.
      • Sliced Avocado: Avocado slices can add a creamy texture and provide healthy fats.
      • Fresh Lemon or Lime Wedges: Served on the side, a fresh squeeze of lemon or lime just before eating can brighten up the flavors.

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

      Slow cookers and Instant Pots are great tools for making soup. Here’s how you can adapt the recipe for each:

      Slow Cooker

      • Start by sautéing the onions, garlic, and mushrooms in a pan with the oil and a bit of stock, just like in the original recipe.
      • Once the onions are tender, transfer everything to the slow cooker and add all the remaining ingredients.
      • Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, or until the barley is tender and the soup has thickened.
      • Before serving, skim off any excess oil and add optional cheese garnish, if desired.

      Instant Pot

      • Set your Instant Pot to the Sauté setting and heat the oil. Add the onions, garlic, mushrooms, and a bit of stock, and cook until the onions are tender.
      • Add the rest of the ingredients, secure the lid, and set the pressure release to Sealing.
      • Select the Soup or Manual setting and set the cooking time for 25 minutes at high pressure. (The pot will take about 10 minutes to come up to pressure before the cooking program begins.)
      • When the cooking program ends, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then move the Pressure Release to Venting to release any remaining steam.
      • Open the pot, skim off any excess oil, and add optional cheese garnish before serving.

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

      Both store-bought broth and homemade broth can work well for this Spicy Barley Soup recipe. Here are a few things to consider:

      Store-Bought Broth

      • This is a convenient option and can save a lot of time, especially if you’re in a hurry. Look for low-sodium versions, as these allow you to control the salt content of your soup more effectively. Also, choose organic if it fits within your budget.

      Homemade Broth

      • This allows for the most control over flavor and ingredients. If you have the time and ingredients available, homemade broth can add a depth of flavor to your soup that’s hard to match with store-bought options.

      Ultimately, the choice between store-bought and homemade broth comes down to your personal preference, time constraints, and dietary needs.

      Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables Etc For The Soup? 

      The beauty of a soup like this Spicy Barley Soup is its versatility. You can easily adapt it to fit your taste preferences, dietary needs, or what you have on hand. Here are a few ideas:

      • Meat: Chicken, beef, or pork could be added to this soup for extra protein. Be sure to brown the meat before adding it to the soup for the best flavor. For a smoky twist, try adding diced smoked sausage.
      • Fish: While not a common addition to barley soup, you could experiment with adding firm, white fish or shellfish to the soup towards the end of cooking time. Be mindful not to overcook the fish.
      • Pasta: Small pasta shapes like orzo or ditalini could be used in place of the barley. Adjust cooking time as needed since pasta cooks faster than barley.
      • Vegetables: Feel free to add or substitute other vegetables based on what’s in season or what you have on hand. Root vegetables like parsnips or sweet potatoes, leafy greens like kale or spinach, or even peas or corn could work well in this soup.
       Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables

      Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For Making Soup

      Some tips and tricks to make your soup-making experience more successful:

      Prepping Tips

      • Chop vegetables evenly: This ensures all ingredients cook uniformly. Cutting vegetables into similar-sized pieces means they will cook at the same rate, preventing something from being overcooked while others are undercooked.
      • Prep ingredients in advance: Soups are excellent for meal prep. You can chop all your vegetables and measure out your ingredients ahead of time, so when it’s time to cook, you need to add everything to the pot.
      • Rinse your grains: Rinsing grains like barley can remove excess starch and prevent your soup from becoming overly thick.

      Cooking Time Tips

      • Sauté your vegetables: Start by sautéing your aromatics and vegetables in a little bit of oil. This helps to develop a deeper flavor base for your soup.
      • Layer your ingredients: Start with the ingredients that take the longest to cook, like barley and root vegetables, then add quicker-cooking ingredients, like tender vegetables or pre-cooked meats, later in the cooking process.
      • Adjust the heat as needed: Lower the heat if your soup is boiling too vigorously. A gentle simmer is usually enough to cook the ingredients and develop flavor.
        Tips And Tricks For Making Soup

        Nutritional Values

        Spicy Barley Soup is not just a treat for your taste buds; it’s also packed with nutrients. A single serving provides substantial dietary fiber from barley and vegetables essential for good digestive health. 

        It’s also rich in Vitamin A from carrots and immune-boosting Vitamin C. Mushrooms and optional cheese add a protein boost. The low-calorie content makes it a fitting choice for those watching their weight.

        What Are The Total Calories In Soup? 

        The total calories in a serving of Spicy Barley Soup can vary depending on the exact ingredients and their quantities. However, a rough estimate would be around 220 calories per serving.

        This estimate is based on the following assumptions:

        • 1 cup of cooked barley has about 160 calories
        • Vegetables like onions, carrots, celery, and bell peppers add minimal calories, approximately 50-60 calories in total per serving
        • The olive oil used for sautéing the vegetables adds about 40 calories per serving
        • The vegetable broth and spices contribute minimal calories

        Dietary Restrictions Of The Soup

        The Spicy Barley Soup recipe can cater to various dietary preferences and restrictions with a few modifications. Here are some considerations for common dietary restrictions:

        • Vegan/Vegetarian

        The original recipe is suitable for vegans and vegetarians as it contains no animal products. However, ensure the vegetable broth used doesn’t contain any hidden animal-derived ingredients.

        • Gluten-Free

        Barley contains gluten. To make this recipe gluten-free, replace barley with a gluten-free grain like quinoa, rice, or buckwheat. Also, ensure the vegetable broth is certified gluten-free.

        • Low-Carb/Keto

        Barley is a high-carb grain, so it’s unsuitable for a low-carb or keto diet. You could replace barley with low-carb vegetables like cauliflower or zucchini.

        • Nut-Free

        This recipe is naturally nut-free. However, if you’re cooking for someone with a severe nut allergy, ensure all your ingredients are processed in a nut-free environment to avoid cross-contamination.

        • Dairy-Free

        The original recipe is dairy-free. If you plan to add any toppings or garnishes, ensure they’re also dairy-free.

        • Paleo/Whole30

        Both these diets exclude grains, so that barley wouldn’t be suitable. You could replace barley with compliant vegetables like sweet potatoes or butternut squash.

        Health Benefits Of The Soup

        One made with wholesome ingredients like Spicy Barley Soup can have several health benefits:

        • Hydration: Soup has a high water content, which can help you stay hydrated. This is particularly beneficial in colder months when people often forget to drink enough water.
        • Nutrient-Rich: When you make soup with various vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, it becomes a nutrient-dense meal providing a range of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
        • Weight Management: Soups can be quite filling due to their high water and fiber content, which can help control hunger and assist in weight management.
        • Easy to Digest: Soups are generally easier on the digestive system since the ingredients are usually cooked until soft. This can be especially beneficial for those with digestive issues or for people recovering from illness.
        • Immune Support: A well-made vegetable soup can help boost your immune system, especially if it’s loaded with nutrient-rich vegetables and herbs known for their health benefits.
        • Heart Health: Choosing lean proteins, plenty of vegetables, and whole grains for your soup helps lower its sodium and saturated fat content, which is good for heart health.
        • Bone Health: If your soup uses a bone broth base, it can also provide some benefits for joint and bone health due to the collagen and other nutrients in the broth.

        Nutrition Table

        Beef Barley Soup nutrition table

        How Can I Make Soup Lower In Sodium?

        Reducing the sodium content in your Spicy Barley Soup (or any soup, for that matter) can be easily achieved with a few simple tweaks:

        • Use low-sodium or no-sodium broth: The broth or stock you use can contribute a significant amount of sodium. Opt for a low-sodium or unsalted version. If you’re making your own broth at home, you can control the amount of salt added.
        • Cut back on added salt: Reduce the amount of salt you add to the soup. Often, the natural flavors of the vegetables, herbs, and spices can shine through without needing extra salt.
        • Rely on herbs and spices for flavor: Herbs and spices can contribute a lot of flavor without adding sodium. Garlic, pepper, thyme, marjoram, and cayenne pepper can all add depth and complexity to your soup.
        • Add acid: Adding a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of vinegar at the end of cooking can brighten up the flavors of the soup, reducing the need for extra salt.
        • Use fresh ingredients when possible: Processed or canned foods often have added sodium. You can significantly reduce the amount of sodium by using fresh vegetables and making your own tomato paste.

        How Can I Make The Soup Lower In Sugar?

        The Spicy Barley Soup, as detailed in the recipe above, should contain a manageable amount of added sugars as most of the ingredients are whole foods. However, if you’re concerned about minimizing sugar content further, here are some tips:

        • Use fresh or frozen veggies: Some canned vegetables can have added sugars to preserve color and taste. By using fresh or frozen vegetables, you can avoid these added sugars.
        • Look out for hidden sugars in broths and stocks: Even though they might not taste sweet, some store-bought broths or stocks may contain added sugars. Check the labels carefully or make your own at home to be sure.
        • Be mindful of tomato products: Tomato paste or canned tomatoes sometimes contain added sugars to balance the acidity. Choose no-sugar-added versions of these products.
        • Use whole grains: Whole grains like barley are a great choice as they contain complex carbohydrates which don’t spike blood sugar levels as much as refined grains.

        How To Serve The Spicy Barley Soup In The Best Way?

        Presenting and serving the Spicy Barley Soup in a pleasing manner can truly enhance the eating experience. Here are some ideas:

        • Use a Good Bowl: Choose a deep bowl that complements the color of the soup. Consider using a contrasting color to make the soup pop.
        • Add Garnish: A sprinkle of fresh parsley, a dollop of sour cream, or a few drops of olive oil on top can add visual appeal. If you used cheese, add a little extra on top before serving.
        • Serve with Accompaniments: A slice of rustic bread or a side salad can be a great accompaniment to soup. Not only does it make the meal more filling, but it also adds to the overall presentation when served on a nice plate or board.
        • Warm the Bowl: A nice touch is to warm the bowl slightly before serving the soup. This keeps the soup warmer for longer and adds a professional touch.
        • Clean the Edges: After ladling the soup into the bowl, clean the edges for a neat and tidy presentation.

        Perfect Side Dishes For Soup

        Pairing the right side dish with your Spicy Barley Soup can turn a simple meal into a feast. Here are some suggestions:

        • Crusty Bread 

        A piece of crusty bread like baguette or sourdough is perfect for sopping up any remaining soup in the bowl. A garlic bread or a cheese toastie would also pair nicely.

        • Green Salad 

        A light, refreshing green salad with a simple vinaigrette can contrast the soup’s hearty, warm nature.

        • Roasted Vegetables 

        Roasted root vegetables or a medley of your favorite seasonal veggies can complement the soup and add a variety of textures to the meal.

        • Grilled Cheese Sandwich 

        A classic pairing, the crunchy, cheesy sandwich and a bowl of soup make for a comforting meal.

        • Quiche or Savory Tart

        A small slice of quiche or a savory tart can add a touch of elegance to your soup meal.

        • Flatbread

        Pita, naan, or another type of flatbread could be used to scoop up the soup and would add a nice element of texture.

        How Long Can We Store The Soup?

        Storing soup properly can help it retain its taste and quality for longer. Here are the steps to store your Spicy Barley Soup:

        After cooking, allow the soup to cool slightly, then transfer it to a shallow container to cool more rapidly and evenly. This helps to prevent bacterial growth, which can occur if food spends too much time in the “danger zone” (40°F – 140°F).

        Can You Make Soup In Advance?

        Soup is one of those dishes that often tastes even better the next day. This is because the flavors have more time to meld together, enhancing the overall taste.

        To make Spicy Barley Soup in advance:

        1. Just follow the recipe as usual.
        2. Once the soup is cooked, allow it to cool completely.
        3. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

        It should last for up to five days. Before serving, reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally until thoroughly warmed.

        If you want to freeze the soup for more extended storage, it can typically be frozen for up to 3 months. Divide the soup into portion-sized freezer-safe containers for easier thawing and reheating. To serve, thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

        What Can Be Done With Leftover Soup?

        If you have leftover Spicy Barley Soup, there are numerous creative ways to repurpose it and enjoy it anew. Here are a few ideas:

        • Repurpose Into Another Soup or Stew: If you’ve grown tired of the same flavor, you can easily add some new ingredients to your leftover soup to change it up. Add some different vegetables, protein, or spices to transform it into a fresh soup or stew.
        • Use as a Sauce: You can puree the soup and use it as a sauce for dishes like pasta, grains, or protein. Just heat it up and toss it with your preferred ingredient.
        • Stir It Into a Casserole: Leftover soup can be a great addition to a casserole. Use it as a base, add some proteins, grains, and extra veggies, then bake until bubbly and golden.
        • Create a Pasta Dish: You can cook down the soup until it thickens and toss it with pasta for a hearty main dish. Add some grated cheese on top for extra flavor.
        • Make a Risotto or Grain Dish: Use the soup as a flavorful liquid to cook grains like rice, quinoa, or bulgur. This can add a lot of flavor to your dish.
        • Use as a Base for Curry or Stir-fry: The soup can provide a flavorful vegetable or protein curry base. Similarly, it can be reduced and used as a sauce in a stir-fry.
        • Freeze for Later: If you can’t use the leftover soup immediately, consider freezing it for future use. It can be stored in the freezer for 2-3 months without losing much quality.

        Special Tools/Equipment Needed

        It does not require any special kitchen tools. Here are the essential tools you would need:

        • Large Pot or Dutch Oven: You’ll need a large pot or Dutch oven to hold all the ingredients and give them enough space to cook evenly.
        • Knife and Cutting Board: A sharp knife and a sturdy cutting board are essential for preparing vegetables.
        • Measuring Cups and Spoons: These will help you accurately measure the barley, broth, and spices.
        • Wooden Spoon or Spatula: You’ll need this to stir the soup as it cooks.
        • Ladle: This will be helpful for serving the soup.

        If you’d like to save time or make the cooking process easier, you could consider these additional tools:

        • Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker: These can be useful for hands-off cooking and speeding up the cooking process.
        • Immersion Blender: If you prefer a smoother soup, an immersion blender can be used to partially or wholly blend the soup.

        Frequently Asked Questions

        Can I Use Other Types Of Grains Instead Of Barley In The Soup?

        You can substitute barley with other grains such as brown rice, farro, or quinoa. Just be aware that this may affect the cooking time and the soup’s final texture.

        Can I Make This Soup Spicy Or Less Spicy?

        Absolutely! You can adjust the cayenne pepper to your taste. Add more for a spicier soup, or use less if you prefer a milder flavor.

        Can I Add Other Vegetables To The Soup?

        Yes, this soup is quite versatile. Feel free to add other vegetables, such as zucchini, bell peppers, or kale.

        Can I Use Dried Herbs Instead Of Fresh?

        Yes, you can use dried herbs. Generally, the rule of thumb is to use one-third of the amount of dried herbs as you would fresh.

        Can I Cook The Soup In A Slow Cooker?

        Yes, you can. Adjust the cooking time according to your slow cooker’s settings and ensure the barley is fully cooked before serving.

        Can I Use Store-Bought Broth Instead Of Homemade?

        Absolutely, using store-bought broth is a great time saver. Just be mindful of its sodium content.

        Is This Soup Kid-Friendly?

        Yes, but reduce or omit the cayenne pepper to make it less spicy for younger palates.

        Can I Use Canned Mushrooms Instead Of Fresh?

        You can use canned mushrooms, but they may slightly alter the soup’s texture and flavor.

        How Can I Make This Soup Creamier?

        You could puree part of the soup using a blender or immersion blender, then mix it back in. This will give the soup a creamier texture.

        Can I Add Protein Like Chicken Or Tofu To The Soup?

        Certainly! Adding cooked chicken, tofu, or beans can boost the protein content and make the soup more satisfying.

        Beef Barley Soup The Best Cuisine To Ignite Your Taste Buds

        Beef Barley Soup The Best Cuisine To Ignite Your Taste Buds

        5 from 8 votes
        Recipe by Hanna Barnes Course: Soup Recipes


        Prep time


        Cooking time





        Spicy Barley Soup is a flavorful, hearty dish that warms you from the inside out. This soup showcases the chewy texture of barley, the richness of a vegetable-based broth, and a blend of savory herbs and spices.


        • Canola Oil

        • Large Onions, Diced

        • Large Garlic Clove, Minced

        • Fresh Cremini / Button Mushrooms, Sliced

        • Vegetable Stock (or Chicken Stock)

        • Large Carrot, Thinly Sliced

        • Large Celery Stalks, Thinly Slice

        • Tomato Paste

        • Rutabaga or Turnip, Peeled and Dice

        • Pearl Barley

        • Fresh Parsley Leaves, Roughly Choppe

        • Large Bay Leaves

        • Dried Marjoram Leaves

        • Dried Thyme Leaf

        • Powdered Mustard

        • Celery Seed

        • Cayenne Pepper (more or less, to taste)

        • Black Pepper, or to Taste

        • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese (Optional)

        Step-By-Step Directions

        • Prepare
          Start by preparing your 5-quart Dutch oven or a small stock pot. You’ll want to combine 1 tablespoon of canola oil, 2 large diced onions, 1 large minced garlic clove, 1/4 lb of fresh cremini or button mushrooms, and 2 tablespoons of the stock of your choice—vegetable or chicken. 
          Cook this mixture over medium heat, ensuring you stir frequently. The aim is for the onions to become tender, which should take about 4-5 minutes. If you notice the vegetables starting to stick to the bottom of your pot, don’t worry; add a few more tablespoons of your chosen stock to loosen them.
        • Saute
          Once the onions are tender, it’s time to add all the remaining ingredients into your pot. This includes your sliced carrot and celery, the tomato paste, your choice of rutabaga or turnip, pearl barley, your assortment of herbs and spices (including fresh parsley leaves, bay leaves, dried marjoram leaves, dried thyme leaf, powdered mustard, celery seed, cayenne pepper, and black pepper), and the rest of your stock. Stir everything well, ensuring the tomato paste is fully incorporated into the soup.
        • Bring It To Boil
          Next, bring your soup to a boil. Once boiling, cover your pot, lower the heat to a simmer, and allow your soup to cook for around 1 and 1/2 hours. You’re looking for the barley to become tender and the soup to thicken lightly.
        • Skim
          After the soup has finished cooking, you’ll want to skim any excess oil from the surface of the soup using a large spoon and discard it. This step ensures your soup is manageable and maintains a pleasant texture
        • Serve
          If you wish, you can finish your soup with a garnish of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. This optional step can add a lovely depth of flavor and a creamy texture to your soup.

        Recipe Video


        • Choosing the right barley: Use pearl barley for this soup. It has a wonderful chewy texture that pairs well with the soup’s spicy notes.
        • Adjusting the spice: The spice level in this recipe is mild to medium. If you prefer a milder soup, reduce the amount of cayenne pepper. Conversely, if you like it hot, feel free to add more!
        • Addition of protein: For a more substantial meal, consider adding a protein like cooked chicken, tofu, or beans to your soup.
        • Varying vegetables: While the recipe suggests specific vegetables, feel free to use what you have on hand or prefer. Root vegetables, green beans, peas, or even leafy greens like spinach or kale would work well.
        • Preparation ahead: This soup tastes even better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld together. It’s perfect for meal prep or for making in advance of a dinner party.
        • Serving suggestion: This soup is very hearty and can be served as a meal on its own. However, it pairs nicely with a simple green salad and a piece of crusty bread.
        Hanna Barnes

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