Simple Mushroom Beef Barley Soup

Barley is a great way to lower your cholesterol. This hearty soup is packed full of healthy goodness.

A bowl of soup, bread on a plate a white roses

It is cold as the North Pole here in Montana this January. Last month we had temperatures dip into the negative 20’s. My house was -29 on the coldest day. Negative!


There is nothing I want more in the winter than a steaming hot bowl of hearty soup, a big slice of sourdough bread and a glass of red wine.

This beef, barley and mushroom soup is packed with antioxidant rich vegetables like mushrooms and kale or Swiss chard, grass fed lean beef and barley- the funny little grain that is chewy, full of fiber and so good.

Add this soup into your routine for dinner and the family will sing your praises. I make it with homemade vegetable stock, but any stock or broth you have on hand will be perfectly delicious.

a bowl of soup, a plate of bread and white roses in a vase

The first step to any great soup is the fresh, but simple ingredients. I use chopped carrots, onions, kale, celery (you could absolutely use leeks), garlic and two types of mushrooms- little baby bellos and porcini.

Then I use local Montana grass fed beef. Buy the leanest beef you can find. There is plenty of butter and olive oil to coat everything with a decadent silkiness. You want a hearty soup, not greasy. As I’m getting older, I really want to keep an eye on my cholesterol levels so lean beef or ground turkey is a must.

a wooden bowl filled with carrots, celery, mushrooms and onions

Sauté up the vegetables in a bit of olive oil and then stir in a pat or two of butter. Add in thyme, salt, pepper, celery salt and Worcestershire. Add in the beef and cook until just browned- add in the dry barely- 1-2 cups and loads of rich vegetable stock. Any stock will do- your preference. I like to add in the barely before the liquid because it is coated with all the delicious flavors in the pot and toasts up beautiful to be extra nutty. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.

vegetables being sautéed in a soup pot

Chopping up these vegetables and creating bowl fulls of rich nutritious soup is so relaxing to me. There is something comforting about preparing a simple meal that you know is healthy, yet is it warm and filling for your family. Serve with a toasted sourdough bread, like the loaf I just brought back from Acme Bakeries in San Francisco and a Petite Syrah like a 2020 Pedroncelli .

This soup will keep for several days the fridge in an airtight container. Just add more water each day (or stock) to loosen it up- the little pearls of barley tends to soak up everything).


a bowl of barley being poured into a soup pot
A bowl of soup, bread on a plate a white roses

Mushroom, Beef & Barley Soup

A hearty and “heart healthy”
bowl of pearl barely and beef packed with mushrooms, kale and carrots in a silky rich stock.
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Course: Soups
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 180kcal


  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 2 cups carrots, diced
  • 3 cups Mushrooms: brown, button baby portobello, porcini, stems removed & sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, with leaves, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced fine
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 1 lb grass fed lean ground beef
  • 2 cups Pearl Barley
  • 12 cups vegetable or beef stock
  • 3 cups chopped kale or Swiss chard , ribs removed
  • 2 cups baby Yukon gold potatoes, quarters
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper ( heaping teaspoon)
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • ½ cup red wine, like a petite Syrah


  • In large stock pot, heat the olive oil. Add in the carrots, celery and onions. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until just tender. Add in the garlic and sauté and 30 seconds. Stir in the mushrooms with the butter. Let the mushrooms cook on medium low heat. Do not fuss with the pot. You want the mushrooms to develop a browned edge- too much stirring prevents browning. Add the beef and brown with the vegetables until just barely cooked. Stir in the salt, pepper, thyme, celery salt, Worcestershire and red wine.
  • Toss in the barley and coat well with the fat from the pot and the beef. Slowly pour in the vegetable or beef stock- add it in 4 cups at a time. Simmer uncovered or 10 minutes.
  • Add in the potatoes. Cover and cook another 15 minutes. Remove the thyme stems.
  • Stir in the kale and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes more. Test for seasonings. Add more salt, pepper etc. if desired. Once kale is tender and the potatoes are fork tender, the soup is ready to serve.


  • This soup will last in the fridge up to 5 days. Add more water or stock to loosen it up.
  • You can omit the red wine and substitute tomato paste or tomato sauce to elevate the flavors in the soup.
  • Add dried mushrooms by reconstructing in hot water. Save the mushroom water for the soup- it is rich in flavor.
  • Nutrition

    Calories: 180kcal

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