Vegan Tomato and Barley Vegetable Soup Recipe

Barley tomato soup with vegetables
Barley tomato soup with vegetables. Brian Hagiwara / Getty Images
  • 55 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: about 4 servings
Ratings (26)

If you're looking for a nourishing beef-free barley soup recipe, most recipes use mushrooms to pair with the barley, but this meatless tomato barley soup uses tomatoes and the standard soup ingredients of carrots, celery, onions and garlic to carry the flavor. There's little additional seasoning, so this homemade vegetarian tomato barley soup recipe is simple, easy, and nourishing.

If you've been following The Spruce for a while, you'll likely already know that barley is one of those random foods which I absolutely love and think is under appreciated as a foodstuff. I wouldn't quite use the term "barley aficionado", but you get the idea. You can buy it in bulk, making it extra-environmentally friendly. Its got that unique chewy texture which is unmatched but any other food that I know of. Its cheap and it's filling. Its homey and comforting. What's not to love about barley? 

This vegetable barley soup is both vegetarian and vegan, though if you're not eating dairy-free and vegan, you might like to top it off with a bit of fresh grated Parmesan cheese just before serving for a nice presentation and extra flavor. Either way, enjoy!

See also: More easy homemade vegetable soup recipes

What You'll Need

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped small
  • 1/2 onion, chopped small
  • 2 -3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups good quality vegetable broth
  • 1 16-ounce can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste (kosher salt or sea salt and fresh ground black pepper is always best)

How to Make It

In a large soup or stock pan, heat onions and garlic for a minute or two, then add the chopped carrots and celery. Heat for 4 to 5 minutes, just to start the vegetables cooking a bit with a head start. 

Add the can of diced tomatoes (do not drain), the vegetable broth, barley and the Italian seasoning, stirring well to combine.

Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce to a medium-low simmer.

Cook for 30-40 minutes, or until barley is cooked and carrots are soft.

You may need to add a little bit extra water or vegetable broth.

Once the barley is cooked, stir in the fresh spinach and heat for one more minute, just until barely wilted, then turn off heat. Season your soup generously with salt and pepper.

Like making homemade meat-free soups, like this beef-free barley soup? Here's more vegetarian and vegan soup ideas to try: