Updated Vegetable Soup with Mushrooms and Barley

Did anyone else eat that condensed Campbell’s Vegetable Soup from a can when they were growing up? I know I did! I loved it! I’ve looked at that soup and fixed a few of the problems so that you can enjoy it in healthier and more delicious way. 

First off, it has chunk-less tomatoey broth that is made with just a touch of tomato paste. In this recipe you’ll notice that I add the tomato paste before the broth so that it gets a chance to cook for a bit without any liquid added to get rid of that out-of-the-can taste. I notice that a lot of people don’t seem to do this in their recipes, but it is most necessary. 

There is an addition of barley to add bulk and substance. Barley is super high in protein and has a bit of iron. It’s got a nice consistency and if you leave this soup in the fridge overnight it won’t disintegrate like pasta will. 

The veggies in this recipe are all added at the correct time so that when the soup finishes, they all still have the right texture and aren’t totally soggy. Parsley and thyme are used to add an herbacious and fresh note, and there is a hint of garlic that is grated in at the beginning of the recipe. I’ve also taken the liberty of adding mushrooms just because I like them and they add a great flavor to any vegetable soup. Feel free to leave them out though. 

It’s RAINING IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA! It’s the perfect time to make this soup. 

Have fun!

Updated Vegetable Soup with Mushrooms and Barley
Serves 5
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
45 min
  1. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  2. 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped fine
  3. 2 ribs celery, chopped
  4. 5 medium carrots, cleaned and chopped into 1/2-3/4 inch thick rounds
  5. 10 or so crimini mushrooms, ends trimmed and cut in half (or in quarters if they're big)
  6. 2 garlic cloves grated
  7. 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  8. 1 bay leaf
  9. 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  10. 1/2 cup uncooked barley
  11. 4-5 cups good stock (veggie or chicken)
  12. 2 cups chopped fresh green beans
  13. 1.5 cup frozen peas
  14. 1.5 cups frozen corn
  15. kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  16. fresh chopped parsley to garnish (about 3 Tbsp)
  1. In a heavy bottomed stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion, celery and carrots. Cook about 5 minutes stirring often until onions are soft but not brown. Season with a pinch of kosher salt and black pepper.
  3. Add mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring often until they begin to release their moisture. Add garlic and tomato paste continue to stir for about 1-2 minutes. Reduce heat if anything starts to get too far beyond a golden brown. Add barley and cook a minute or so, stirring continuously.
  4. Add stock, bay leaf and thyme. Stir to get any bits off the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil and then cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the barley is soft but still has a little bite to it.
  5. Add green beans, and cook about 1 minute. Add peas and corn and cook another minute or so. Remove from heat and add parsley. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
  1. You can leave the mushrooms out if you want, just add more of the other veggies.
  2. Barley cooking times can vary, so just make sure yours is cooked enough.
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