Winter Vegetable and Barley Soup

Enjoy a satisfying and warming lunch with this vegan pearl barley soup, packed full of nutritious vegetables and aromatic herbs.

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A British GP breaks down the science behind plant based diets
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This hearty soup is perfect for colder months when you need something filling and nutritious to power you through the afternoon. This recipe is very versatile and can made using any root veg you have at home. I have listed a few options on the left for veggie ideas you can add or swap depending on what’s in your fridge.

Makes 4-6 portions


1 tbsp olive oil (or use no oil sautéeing method)
1 onion, finely diced
2 sticks celery, finely diced
700g vegetables, unpeeled, if possible, and diced – select at least 3 from: carrots, pumpkin, squash, celeriac, beetroot, swede, parsnip, turnip, kohlrabi
A bouquet garni of 2 sprigs rosemary, 2 sprigs parsley and 2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
100g pearled barley
1.2 ltr vegetable stock
1 tsp Marmite or alternative yeast extract (optional)
150g cavolo nero, kale, Savoy cabbage or similar, shredded
salt and pepper


If using the oil, heat it in a large saucepan or casserole. Add the onion, celery and all the vegetables and sauté gently, stirring regularly, until starting to caramelise slightly around the edges. If not using the oil, add all the vegetables to the saucepan with 2 tbsp water. Cook over a low heat, stirring very regularly, and add more water at intervals until everything is starting to brown.

Add the bouquet garni, oregano and garlic to the pan along with the pearled barley. Season with salt and pepper and add the vegetable stock and the Marmite or yeast extract, if using. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and partially cover. Simmer gently for around 30 minutes until the vegetables are well on their way to being tender. Add the kale or cabbage to the pot and push down into the liquid. Add a little more stock or water if necessary – it should be quite a thick, hearty soup. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes until the greens are completely wilted down, the vegetables are tender and breaking up, and the barley is cooked through. Check for seasoning and serve.


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