Vegan Bean and Barley Soup

This nourishing bowl of vegan bean and barley soup, with white beans, barley, celery, carrots and mushrooms, has everything you need in a delicious bowl.

Vegan bean and barley soup in bowl with parsley garnish and spoon.

This creamy vegan bean and barley soup is brimming with deliciousness and oodles of good health.

White beans, barley, mushrooms, carrots and celery swim in a silky, garlicky, herby sauce. The result is a soup full of healthful goodness, and one you will want to eat and make again and again.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Textures and flavors: The vegetables, beans and barley add chunky texture to every mouthful, all of it cradled by the velvety sauce. The garlic, herbs and veggies bring tons of flavor.
  • Easy recipe. The bean and barley soup is so easy to make, but everyone who eats it will think you simmered it on the stove for hours because it has so much yum!
  • Vegan, gluten-free recipe. See section on special diets below to tweak the soup to soy-free, nut-free, oil-free palates.

Ingredients

  • Dried white beans. Use cannellini, great northern, small lima beans or navy beans. I recommend starting out with dried beans in this recipe because cooking the beans beforehand with the barley reduces cooking time.
  • Hulled barley. You can also use pearl barley, if that’s what you have.
  • Vegetables: onions, celery, carrots and mushrooms. You can use cremini or button mushrooms, or any wild mushrooms. I used a mix of fresh wild mushrooms from Costco that included trumpet mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and maitake mushrooms, among others.
  • Herbs: garlic, rosemary, oregano and bay leaves.
  • Mushroom stock or vegetable stock. You can just use water if you don’t have these, but the stock adds great, deep flavor and umami.
  • Soy sauce or liquid aminos or tamari.
  • Extra virgin olive oil.

How to make vegan bean and barley soup

Hulled barley and beans in pressure cooker pan with water.

Place beans and barley in a pressure cooker, Instant Pot liner or saucepan. Cover with at least two inches water and cook until the beans and barley are tender. Set aside. (See recipe notes in recipe card for instructions on cooking the beans and barley). Blend the cashews with ½ cup water and set aside.

Garlic and onions in olive oil in Dutch oven.

Place the onions and garlic in a large pot or Dutch oven with olive oil. Turn heat to medium, add a pinch of ground black pepper and salt.

Celery and carrots added to garlic and onions in pot.

Stir in the celery and carrots. Saute for a couple of minutes.

Rosemary and oregano added to pot with veggies.

Add the dried oregano and rosemary to the pot and mix.

Mushrooms and bay leaves added to pot.

Add the mushrooms and bay leaves to the pot and mix.

Cooked barley and beans added to pot with veggies.

Add the beans and barley with cashew cream and any cooking water and mushroom stock or vegetable stock — you want a total of three cups of liquid in the soup, but if you prefer the soup thicker, use less liquid. You can always add more later.

Soy sauce added to soup in pot.

Bring the soup to a boil and let it simmer five minutes over medium heat. Stir in the soy sauce or liquid aminos.

Parsley added to soup in pot.

Add the parsley, check seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Return the bean and barley soup to a boil, and turn off heat. Serve the soup hot.

Vegan bean barley soup in bowl with spoon.

Variations

  • Add yellow or red potatoes to the pot along with the carrots for even more cozy, comforting deliciousness.
  • Add chopped kale to the pot along with the mushrooms.

Tweaks for special diets

  • Soy-free: Skip the soy sauce and season with salt to taste.
  • Oil-free: For a soup free of added oils, saute the onions and garlic in ¼ cup water or stock until soft.
  • Nut-free: To make the recipe nut-free, add ¼ cup flour to the carrots, celery, onions, garlic and mushrooms in the pot. Mix until the flour has evenly coated the veggies, then proceed to add stock to the pot. You can also substitute the cashews with pumpkin seeds.
  • Low-carb: Skip the carrots to bring down the number of net carbs in the recipe.

Serving suggestions

  • The vegan bean and barley soup is a full meal in a bowl, with grains, beans and veggies. If you want to, serve a chunk of bread on the side, like French bread or Italian bread.
  • Serve with a fresh, leafy side salad, like vegan Caesar salad.

Storage instructions

  • Refrigerate: Store the bean and barley soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
  • Freeze: The bean and barley soup can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to four months.
  • Reheat: Reheat in a saucepan until warmed through.

More yummy vegan soup recipes

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Vegan bean and barley soup in bowl with spoon and parsley garnish.
Bean barley soup in bowl with spoon.

Vegan Bean and Barley Soup

This nourishing bowl of vegan bean barley soup, with white beans, barley, celery, carrots and mushrooms, has everything you need in a delicious bowl.

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Course: Soup

Cuisine: American

Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

Servings: 6 servings

Calories: 179kcal

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Instructions

  • Place beans and barley in a pressure cooker, Instant Pot liner or saucepan. Cover with at least two inches water and cook until the beans and barley are tender. Set aside. (See recipe notes below on more instructions on cooking the beans and barley).

  • Blend the cashews with ½ cup water and set aside.

  • Place the onions and garlic in a large pot or Dutch oven with olive oil. Turn heat to medium, add a pinch of ground black pepper and salt.

  • Stir in the celery and carrots. Saute for a couple of minutes. Add the dried oregano and rosemary to the pot and mix. Stir in the mushrooms and bay leaves.

  • Add the beans and barley with cashew cream and any cooking water and mushroom stock or vegetable stock — you want a total of three cups of liquid in the soup, but if you prefer the soup thicker, use less liquid. You can always add more later.

  • Bring the soup to a boil and let it simmer five minutes over medium heat. Stir in the soy sauce or liquid aminos.

  • Add the parsley, check seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Return the bean and barley soup to a boil, and turn off heat. Serve the soup hot.

Recipe notes

Tips for cooking the beans and barley:

  • Instant pot: Cook the beans and barley in the Instant Pot for 30 minutes on high pressure.
  • Stovetop pressure cooker: Cook at pressure for 30 minutes or in a pressure cooker that “whistles” for six whistles.
  • Stovetop: Bring the beans and barley to a boil, lower heat, cover, and simmer an hour or until the beans and barley are tender. Add more water if needed during cooking.

Nutrition

Calories: 179kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Potassium: 644mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 2138IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 3mg

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