Mushroom barley soup


soup close.jpgI get a cheap thrill fooling non-vegans into thinking they’re eating meat.

This soup is as savoury and dark as any beef broth. However, in this case the beef is still very much alive enjoying his or her life happy in a field somewhere.

My recipe is based on an ancient Moosewood cookbook, but with my own riff to make it more flavourful and less laborious.


300 g sliced mushrooms (about ¾ of a pound)

2/3 cup dried mushrooms – any kind. I buy them in a huge bag for very cheap at a Chinese grocery and use them for making stocks

3 cups water

3 cups vegetable broth

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 onions diced

3 cloves garlic minced

2 ribs celery diced

2 medium carrots diced

2/3 cup dried barley

1 Tbsp tomato paste (you can freeze leftover tomato paste in 1 Tbsp portions and keep it in a freezer bag so you always have tomato paste for recipes like this)

1 bay leaf

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

1 tsp dried thyme

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup cheap red wine or sherry or port (I always keep cheap port – so cheap it comes in a plastic bottle! – for cooking and marinating)

soup 2.jpg


In a large pot bring the vegetable broth and the water to a boil. Break up your dried mushrooms into fingertip sized pieces and place in the boiling stock/water. Simmer for 15 minutes and remove the pot from the heat.

In the meantime in a stock pot, dice up and slice your other veggies. Saute the onion, garlic, celery and carrots until the onions are translucent – about 5 minutes.

Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms release their juices. I like to cook this right down so some of the mushrooms start to brown a bit. Add the dried mushrooms/stock/water mixture and an additional 1 cup of water and all the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 40 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and enjoy!

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