Mushroom Barley Soup

I’m really pleased with the way this soup turned out. It calls for a whole pound of mushrooms, which is quite a lot for a relatively small amount of soup (about 4 servings). The move was certainly deliberate, as I really love mushrooms. Mushrooms are funny; I find that a lot of people either hate them or love them. I think it’s the texture of them, when cooked a certain way, that freaks people out. It must be a texture thing, because I don’t understand why anyone would dislike the flavour of mushrooms, since they come in so many different types with varying degrees of earthy richness. It just doesn’t make sense! Oh well, I guess we can’t all have pretentious attitudes of superior judgment when it comes to the often misguided ‘tastes’ of others. I’m not a snob, right? Whatever, this soup is awesome, so make it.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
16 ounces cremini mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup barley (You can use either pot barley or pearl barley, it’s all good. I used pot barley)
1/3 cup white wine
2 cups low-sodium or homemade vegetable broth
1½ cups water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon miso paste, dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
3 cups spinach, chopped

1. In a stock pot or a very large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, and dried thyme. Sauté for about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
2. Add the barley and sauté for another 2 minutes, stirring often. Add wine and let bubble for about a minute.
3. Stir in the vegetable broth, water, salt, and black pepper. Turn heat up and bring to a boil. Once boiling, immediately turn heat down to low, cover, and let simmer for about 40-45 minutes, or until barley is done cooking.
4. Uncover the pot and stir in the dissolved miso paste and spinach. Turn heat up a bit to medium-low and cook for another 4 or 5 minutes, or until spinach is just wilted. Season to taste with a tiny pinch more salt before serving.
Makes: 4 or 5 servings


1 Response to “Mushroom Barley Soup”

  1. 1 Valrie January 16, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    This was fantastic. I am not a big barley fan, but this soup will probably have me eating more.

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My name is Ross. I'm a food loving vegan and these are some of my recipes. I'm also the owner of Hot Beans vegan takeout in Kensington Market, Toronto. Check out my 'about' page for more info. Enjoy!

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