Recipe | Winter Pearl Barley and Root Vegetable Soup

Pearl Barley Soup

pearl barley soup

This hearty soup is packed full of goodness, to keep those dreaded cold and flu bugs at bay at this time of year. Plus it’s warming, herb broth, is sure to have you making it over and over again. It’s the perfect dish for a cold winter’s day.

I had never cooked with pearl barley before this recipe, and since doing so, I have no idea why I hadn’t earlier. It’s a fantastic ingredient and really easy to use. It adds great depth of flavour and texture to the dish and is a nice alternative to using potato or perhaps pasta. We cook with quinoa and couscous a lot, so I’m looking forward to adding pearl barley to our dishes now too.

Soup is my go to recipe at this time of year, especially at the weekend when I’m feeling lazy. It’s super easy to make, and this particular recipe doesn’t require a hand blender. (You just need to chop everything super small!). Another great aspect of a soup is that you can make huge quantities and have it for lunch the following week. Bonus!

We also pan fried some bread to make crispy croutons to add on top.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 40g butter (replace with olive oil if vegan)
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced into 1-2cm pieces
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled and diced into 1-2cm pieces
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and diced into 1-2cm pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 stalks of thyme
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 1.2ltr (2pt) vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • Salt and black pepper to season


  1. Heat the butter in a large pan over a medium heat, add all of the vegetables and cook for 5 minutes, until the veg starts to soften.
  2. Stir in the bay leaves, thyme and pearl barley, stock and tomato puree. You may need to wash and/or soak the pearl barley before hand. I’d recommend following the packet instructions.
  3. Turn the heat down, bring to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes, until the vegetables and pearl barley is soft.
  4. Remove the bay leaves and thyme stalks. Serve hot into bowl and season with a little salt and pepper.

pearl barley and vegetable soup