Mushroom, Broccoli Rabe and Barley Soup

Mushroom, Broccoli Rabe and Barley Soup
Mushroom, Broccoli Rabe and Barley Soup. Katie Workman /
  • 35 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4

If you use vegetable broth this soup is completely vegetarian (obviously skip the optional bacon for sprinkling!)  Skip both the bacon and the Parmesan and use vegetable broth and the soup is even vegan.  It’s a real dinner soup, packed with great stuff.  Conversely, you can add shredded chicken to this soup to make it a non-vegetarian one pot meal.

What You'll Need

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 16 ounces sliced mushrooms, such as shiitake, cremini or button
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 cups roughly chopped broccoli rabe
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1½ cups cooked barley
  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth (see Note)
  • ¼ cup crumbled cooked bacon or grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

How to Make It

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the oil.  Add the mushrooms and shallots, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for about 8 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms have turned nicely browned.  Add the broccoli rabe and red pepper flakes and sauté for another 5 minutes or so until the broccoli rabe is just starting to become tender.  
  2. Meanwhile bring the chicken broth to a simmer in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add the broccoli rabe mixture to the pot, along with the cooked barley, and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes, until everything is tender.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, then serve in a bowl with either bacon or Parmesan on the side for sprinkling on top, if desired.

    Note: I love boxed and canned broths, and use them daily, but when a soup is as simple as this, a homemade broth goes a long, long way, if you have the time.  You can also purchase store-made broths and stocks from upscale groceries and gourmet shops, and even though they are a bit pricier, the flavor can be great.  A shortcut I take all the time is to use canned or boxed broth and simmer a few pieces of chicken in the broth along with some sliced carrots and onions for an hour or so, which adds another layer of depth and flavor to store-bought broth.

    Try these other delicious soups, like Turkey Sausage, Broccoli Rabe and Millet Soup, Spiralizer Asian Chicken Vegetable Soup, and Roasted Romanesco and Chimichurri Soup.

    Mushrooms have a wonderful umami flavor that brings meaty texture and flavor to dishes. For more ways to use mushrooms, try Chicken Thighs Stuffed with Mushrooms, Asian Grilled Portobello Mushrooms, Three Cheese Butternut and Mushroom Lasagna, Sauteed Mushroom, Broccoli Rabe and Freekeh Salad, and Orange Salmon with Leeks and Mushrooms.