Well friends, it’s February, and by this point of winter we’ve had a lot of soup! Just when you thought you’d run out of soup ideas, this Creamy Mushroom Barley Soup with Kale is a fresh take on a classic. It’s hearty and filling, while the addition fresh kale gives you a little glimmer for spring. It’s 100% whole food plant based, of course, and oil free. This is sure to do the job of pulling you through those last few weeks of winter with flying colors!
Why you’ll love this Creamy Mushroom Barley Soup with Kale…
-Warm and comforting
-Creamy and rich texture
-High in fiber and filling
-You can cook this on the stovetop or in your Instant Pot
-Kale adds a nutrition punch
What is barley anyway?
Barley is a whole grain that is harvested from a plant in the grass family. It has a somewhat chewy texture, which gives it a satisfying feel in the mouth, and a slightly nutty flavor. It’s used often as an addition to soups and stews, and is also used to create a malt for beers and other alcoholic drinks.
It’s nutritional makeup is about 17% fiber, which is one of the highest of all the whole grains. Like oats, it also contains high levels of soluble beta gluten fiber, which helps to control blood sugar. It’s also an excellent source of manganese selenium and vitamin B3, while also being a good source of protein.
If you haven’t tried adding barley to your diet, now’s a great time to start!
Is barley gluten free?
A word of caution to my gluten free friends, barley is not gluten free. If you still would like to make this soup, buckwheat or amaranth would be a good alternatives, but it may require adjust the cooking time a bit.
Should I cook this on the stovetop or my Instant Pot?
I prefer to cook this in my Instant Pot, simply because it is a bit faster and lower maintenance. However, it doesn’t take too long on the stovetop, so that works as well. If you decide to cook on the stovetop, the barley will take bout 45-55 to soften after it has reached a boil.
If you choose the Instant Pot, it cooks in 20 minutes, with an additional 10 minutes of natural release. After the time it takes for the IP to come to pressure, it’s not that much faster. However, I still prefer this method because you can just set the timer and walk away.
Do I need a high speed blender?
A standard blender will work well. I would recommend soaking the cashews for an additional 10 minutes, so 30 minutes total if you use a standard blender. There should be plenty of time to soak the cashews for both methods, after the soup starts simmering or cooking in the Instant Pot.
If you make this recipe, let me know what you think in the comments below. I love your feedback!
Creamy Mushroom Barley Soup with Kale
- Instant Pot (optional)
- Blender (High Speed Preferable)
- 1 onion diced
- 1-2 bay leaves (depending on size)
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 1 cup celery chopped (cut lengthwise once, and then sliced in 1/4" ribs about 3 large stalks
- 1 cup carrots chopped into 1/4" pieces
- 3 cups chopped mushrooms of your choice I used baby bella
- 1/2 tsp thyme (dried or fresh)
- 1 tsp rosemary (dried or fresb)
- 2 tsp italian seasoning
- 1 tsp mushroom seasoning or powder I used Trader Joes
- 1/2 cup pearl barley
- 4 1/2 cups water Can use equal amount of Vegetable broth if not using bouillon
- 4 tsp Better than Bouillon (or amount your bouillon packaging says per cup of liquid times 4)
- 2 cups chopped kale loosely packed
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup cashews (soaked in boiled water for at least 20 min)
- 1 cup finished soup from the pot
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/3 cup water
- handful of fresh chopped parsley (optional)
- Add diced onion and bay leaves to a heavy bottom pot or your Instant Pot inner pot.
- Sauté on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are turning translucent and releasing some liquid. For Instant Pot, set on Sauté mode to medium.
- Add garlic and sauté for 1 additional minute, stirring constantly
- Add celery, carrots and mushrooms and contiune to sauté for another 5-10 minutes until the vegetables start to soften
- Add bouillon, spices, barley, water (or veggie broth), and kale to the pot and stir. Place cover on and bring to a boil. For Instant Pot, place cover on an lock. Set to high pressure and cook time of 20 minutes. Press start.
- For stovetop, reduce heat to a low simmer and leave cover on cracked to vent. Simmer for 45-55 minutes until barley is soft, stirring occasionally.
- While the soup is cooking, place cashews in a small bowl and cover with boiled water. Set aside and let soak for at least 20 minutes.
- For Instant Pot, when timer has finished, allow a natural release of 10 minutes, and then quick release the remaining pressure and remove cover.
- For stovetop, when barley has softened turn off heat.
- Scoop out 1 cup of soup from the pot or your IP inner pot and place it in your blender. Add additional "Cashew cream" ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth
- Pour the contents of the blender back into your soup and stir to combine. If the soup is too thick at this point, you can add a bit of water to thin.
- Add salt and pepper to taste (I added 1/2 tsp of salt, but judge accordingly on how salty your bouillon or broth is)
- Stir in fresh parsley (optional) and serve!