This easy, vegetable beef barley soup recipe is made with simple ingredients and simmered on the stovetop for a hearty, healthy soup. It’s the perfect meal for a cozy, winter evening!

side view of a small white bowl filled with beef and barley soup

Why I love this beef barley soup recipe

It’s finally Halloween, and it’s a big Halloween for us. Today is actually my due date for baby number two, but we were lucky enough to meet him a week early, which makes this our very first Halloween as a family of four.

We’re already comfy at home and getting back into the swing of things. I’ll be sharing more about our newest addition later this week.

I’m so happy Ellie isn’t missing out on the festivities because Halloween was always one of my favorite holidays. I think it’s because it’s was filled with excitement and I associate it with the coziness of fall.

I have so many great childhood Halloween memories, and I’ve always loved it. This year, Ellie decided months in advance, and our little bat witch will be trick-or-treating with her dad while her brother and I hand out candy tonight.

Those memories include a big bowl of healthy vegetable beef barley soup before we went out hunting for candy and warm apple crisp for dessert when we got back. We had it every single year (as far as I can remember at least), and when I moved away with Marc, I started making it myself.

I published it a few years back, while we were living in France, but since the photos were rather unappetizing and I used French ingredients in the original recipe, I thought I’d revisit the recipe and update it a bit.

side view close up of vegetable beef and barley soup in a large dutch oven

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Here’s what you’ll need to make it

Dairy Free Tip: Bouillon is one of those products that is full of hidden dairy, especially the beef kind. Make sure you’re checking your labels before using anything that’s in your pantry, and if you’re shopping for new, check the organic section or opt for beef base instead of bouillon. Either way, always check your labels.

side view close up of beef and barley soup in a small white bowl

How do you make beef barley soup from scratch?

Brown the beef. Heat a large pot to high. Make sure your stew meat is nice and dry. Then season it with salt & pepper. Add olive oil to the pan and brown the beef until it’s no longer pink.

Simmer the meat. Add the garlic, water, beef base (or bouillon), and bay leaf to the pot. The meat should be mostly covered by the water, but it doesn’t need to be submerged.

Cover the pot and simmer the beef in the water for one hour. Don’t open the pan or sneak a peek during this time. You want to keep all the moisture in the pan, and removing the lid helps it to escape.

Add the veggies. After one hour, add the remaining ingredients to the pot and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for about 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and allow the soup to simmer for another 30 minutes.

overhead view of vegetable beef and barley soup in a small white bowl on a countertop

FAQS and tips for making beef barley soup

What kind of barley do you use for soup?

I use quick barley for this soup recipe, which you don’t need to soak and comes par-steamed so the cook time is much faster. If you have traditional pearled barley, you will need to cook it for a bit long, about 20 – 30 extra minutes, and you may need to adjust your water volume.

What cut of beef is best for soup?

I like to use beef stew meat for soup, but you can also cut up a chuck roast. If you prefer to use a different cut of meat that’s fine, just make sure it’s a fattier meat that needs to be slowly cooked or you will risk having tough, chewy beef in your stew.

How do you add flavor to beef soup?

The easiest way to add flavor to soup is to simply add salt or bouillon, but the addition of onion, garlic, celery and even carrot is a great flavor base for soup.

close up of ladle full of beef and barley soup over a large dutch oven

More beef recipes:

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Print

Vegetable Beef Barley Soup

This easy, vegetable beef barley soup recipe is made with simple ingredients and simmered on the stovetop for a hearty, healthy soup. It’s the perfect meal for a cozy, winter evening!

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hours 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hours 60 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons beef base (or 2 bouillon cubes)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup quick-cooking barley (uncooked)
  • 1 12-ounce bag frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice

Instructions

  1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil to medium-high. Add stew meat and brown.
  2. Once beef has browned, add garlic water, beef base, bay leaf, and salt & pepper.
  3. Reduce heat, cover pot and simmer for 1 hour.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Adjust seasonings, if needed.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 218
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Sodium: 1100.1 mg
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 26.9 g
  • Fiber: 3.1 g
  • Protein: 16.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 37.5 mg

Last Updated on October 1, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

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2 Comments

  1. I love this recipe, although I used regular barley and just cooked it separately, then added to the soup. I also found thinly sliced stir-fry beef at my grocery store and that worked very well for this recipe.