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Barley (Recipe: Curried mushroom, green bean and barley soup) {vegan, gluten-free}


You did.

You know you did.

You know you made the same New Year's resolutions I made: to try to learn Portuguese, and adopt a homeless cat, and give cauliflower and opera another chance, and read The New Yorker when it arrives every week instead of letting it pile up for months on the coffee table alongside cooking magazines you've been saving for a year or more but don't remember why, and eat more barley.

Why barley?

How about dietary fiber? And selenium, and magnesium, and niacin?

If those don't turn you on, how about weight loss, regularity, heart health and lower cholesterol?

Like wheat, barley -- one of the world's healthiest foods -- is a cereal grain. Hulled barley is the most nutritious, since only the tough outer hulls are polished off, leaving the bran intact. Pearl barley is polished to remove the outer bran layer, making it a bit less nutritious, but much quicker to cook.

Long a favorite of soup makers, barley moved on to a starring role in risotto several years ago. Its nutty flavor and chewy texture also work well in pie, pancakes, beef stew, salad, lemon-barley bread or a sweet apple casserole.

Every grocery store carries pearl barley, in the aisle with beans and rice. For hulled barley, you might need to visit a Whole Foods-type or health food market. Don't be afraid to buy from the bulk bin; barley will keep for more than two years in the pantry, if stored in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.


Curried mushroom, green bean and barley soup

Serves 2; can be doubled.


1/2 cup pearl barley
2 cups vegetable broth
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp madras (medium-mild yellow) curry paste, or 1/2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1 cup sliced mushrooms
12 green beans, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
Water, as needed


Place barley, broth and onion in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to simmer, partially cover the pan, and cook for 20 minutes. Add curry paste, tomato paste, cumin, salt and pepper; stir, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add green beans, and taste for seasoning, adjusting with salt and pepper as needed. If the soup is too thick, add a bit of water to thin. Serve hot, or let cool to room temperature and freeze.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:

Mushroom-barley soup
Fregula sarda with leeks and sausage
Vegetarian couscous with dried fruit
Bulgur with cheese and eggplant

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


This looks like an incredible soup! I love barley.

I would love to have this soup on my table for dinner tonight. I wonder if my husband would oblige while I am at work today. I can already smell the curry. Yum!

I love the soup ideas!


The soup looks great! I forgot how much I love barley soup!

I would love to put my name in for the Food Scale giveaway. I found your site through Chow.com and I can't wait to go through your useful info.

My wife uses barley in her soups all the time, and I use it for risotto sometimes. So yummy. So good. :)

I need to find some barley recipes that don't involve mushrooms. My DH is allergic. Has any one tried making Roman barley cakes?

Anyhow, I don't really make New Year Resolutions. I make birthday resolutions, instead. But I have recently set out to learn to make decent biscuits, and a digital scale would be excellent for weighing ingredients. So far, I have only made Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits, which were very tasty.

Oh, I also just started a piggy bank savings fund to get a tattoo when I turn 50, so I guess that is something of a resolution.

the recipe sounds yummy thanks for the contest

What a nice tribute to barley, one of my favorite foods. My resolution for 09 is to eat organically and healthfully.

I love barley in my veg. soup. I didn't realize pearl barley wasn't that great. I'll have to make a change here.

A kitchen scale would certainly be helpful in my kitchen. The old one hit the dust long ago and to date I've not replaced it.

That's interesting about barley.

We use barley frequently in this household, in soups, risottos, salads hot and cold, drink barley water and use barley flakes as a ccoked cereal in winter, however the curried mushrooms never occured to us to use, thank you for this recipe its up on the menu for this weekend.

HB, The New Yorker is a gift, and a curse. I have a friend who's retired and reads the darned thing from cover to cover each week. Some day I hope that will be me...

Matriarchy, love that resolution for your 50th!

Carol, love your resolution, too.

Darlene, pearl barley is still very good for you; it's just a bit lower on the nutrition scale than the barley that still has its hulls. Please don't stop eating pearl barley. As you can see, that's what I keep in my pantry.

I can smell the curry now and I love he combination of Barley and Mushrooms. Thanks for posting the recipe!

I used to love barley, but it is not something that agrees with me anymore. Darn gluten sensitivities! I do like the scales and I've been meaning to get one for a while...its still on my list!

Can't wait to try this one, it's very cold outside and time for a hot nutritious soup like this one. The curry twist sounds intriguing.

I'm going to try the curried mushroom, bean and barley soup no matter who wins this contest. It sounds delicious. I've subscribed to your feed also. Thanks for the great site.

I usually prefer barley as a pilaf, but this soup looks like it's worth a try.

The recipe sounds great, and the pot of soup made me hungry. I have promised myself to stop eating so much at fast food places and cook a little healthier. Thanks for the great giveaway!

I'd love to win a scale. Yummy looking soup!

i love to cook/bake but i've never used a scale for it... i'd like to try it out. i also send out a lot of small packages so having this would be nice ;).

A try to make soup once a week, this is next week's soup. I love barley and mushrooms especially with the cold weather. Thank you for the recipe.

I copied the recipe for the soup. It sounds delicious! Winning a kitchen scale would be wonderful. Thanks for having the wonderful giveaway.

I came from BlogHer to get the soup recipe -- my daughter is newly vegetarian and I'm always looking for delicious, nutritious meat-free recipes for her now -- but if I were to win one of those scales, well, that'd be okay, too!

I'll be trying the soup this weekend. It looks delicious.

I like the inspiring ideas and recipes I am finding on this site..thanks!

madamerkf at aol dot com

please enter me, thanks

I plan to put this soup into regular rotation. Thanks for the recipe!
Also, just adopted a beautiful black kitty from the shelter. For those that are interested, Jan. 24th is adopt a pet free day at participating science diet partner shelters.

Yum! I will definitely try your soup recipe. I love barley but always find myself wondering if it's "pot barley" or "pearl barley" that is healthiest... I've never heard of "hulled barley", must be equivalent to pot barley. Thanks for sharing!

Jess, I think this soup would be pretty delicious with lentils, too, if that's on your "okay to eat" list.

Cathy, I've promised myself the same thing. Good luck to both of us!

Mir, there are some wonderful vegetarian blogs that can be a great source of recipes for you. Look in the column at right, under "25 Blogs I read every day".

Kate, thanks -- the kitty adoption is moving rapidly to the top of my to-do list.

CC, pot barley is often sold as Scotch barley. It's not the same as hulled, but closer to that in terms of how much (or little) its processed. It takes longer to cook than pearl barley, too.

Thank you, everyone -- the entries for the giveaway are now closed. Winners will be announced tomorrow!

Just noticed the 'opera' option on the resolutions! Couldn't let that go by: eat barley soup and listen to 'Saturday Afternoon at the Opera' -- pretty indulgent for a resolution..

The first thing I cooked after my husband came home from the cardiologist was a vegetable barley soup. Who knew? It must have been an instinctive response. Funny thing is, it tasted good for healthy food.

Delicious recipe. Barley is very healthy. It is rich in nutrients. It helps in various ways like for skin purifier, cures pimples, helps to get taut skin, it act as skin whitener and has many other benefits. It can also be used as body scrub, which can be rubbed on the skin for 15-20 minutes to get optimal exfoliation.

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