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

Why mushroom, beef & barley soup is so good:

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, ground beef and barley- the funny little grain that is chewy, full of fiber and so good.

I recommend you use lean grass fed beef for a healthier high protein. Ground turkey can be used, but this soup really calls for beef.

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

Ingredients in this soup recipe:

fresh ingredients-

  • lean ground beef
  • kale or Swiss chard
  • various types of mushrooms- porcini, button, baby portobello,
  • onions
  • Yukon gold potatoes
  • carrots
  • celery
  • thyme
  • garlic
  • butter

pantry ingredients-

  • olive oil
  • pearl barley
  • 12 cups vegetable or beef stock
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • salt, pepper, celery salt
  • red wine- like a Petite Syrah
a cutting board scattered with small mushrooms

How to make simple mushroom, beef & barley soup:

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.

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 cutting board with a sharp chef's knife and sliced mushrooms

How to: con’t.

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. So simple!

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

Commons questions about simple mushroom, beef & barley soup:

Can this be made into a vegetarian recipe?

Yes- use a product like Beyond Beef, vegetable stock and perhaps add in lentils for even more protein. Worcestershire sauce has anchovies so substitute soy sauce, tamari, sherry wine or even balsamic vinegar.

My leftover soup is so thick. What do I do?

The pearl barley really soaks up the liquid. When re-heating, just add more beef broth or even water to loosen up the soup. Test for sodium levels and adjust if needed.

My family hates mushrooms. Can I leave them out?

Yes- add in more onions, carrots and celery. But- the mushrooms add so much great flavor and texture- ask your family just to try it out.

Can I use dried thyme or jarred garlic?

Dried thyme is acceptable- Use only 2 tsp. Jarred garlic is a huge no-no on my list. Fresh garlic adds so many healthy benefits and tastes so much more intense.

vegetables being sautéed in a soup pot

What to serve with this recipe?

  • crusty sourdough with salted butter
  • a large winter chicory salad with green apples, walnuts, blue cheese a bright red wine vinaigrette
  • a grilled sandwich on pumpernickel bread with cheese, ham, spinach, apples, pastrami or other fillings
  • a bottle of red wine goes very well with this soup
a bowl of barley being poured into a soup pot

Health Benefits of barley:

Barley is high in fiber- especially beta-glucan which stabilizes blood sugar levels and can lower cholesterol.

Barley is rich in vitamins like copper, vitamin B1, magnesium and niacin and other plant compounds which aid in digestion, can reduce hunger for long periods which in turn help with weight loss.

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
Keyword: mushroom beef and barley soup
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 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 ground beef lean
  • 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 , quartered
  • 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 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.
  • Mushroom or hearty vegetable stock broth is a good substitute for beef broth 


Calories: 180kcal

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