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Thick and hearty veggie and barley soup is a “soup” that really wants to be a stew.  How do I know that?  I know that because I came up with it based upon my favorite beef and barley stew recipe.  I love, love, love my beef stew recipe, but I came up with this recipe when I was pregnant.  When I’m pregnant, I often lose my taste for meat.  It just doesn’t appeal to me.  But veggies?  Love them!  Barley?  Love it!  A thick, home cooked vegetarian soup?  Love it!

So I tried making this beef-less stew recipe and I’ve been so pleased with the results!  Made without the beef, it’s definitely a more frugal recipe, but because it’s so thick and hearty, it’s still very filling!  I don’t miss the meat at all.

Vegetable and barley soup in a white soup cup

How to Freeze Veggie and Barley Soup

This soup works great in freezer. Once soup has completely cooled (or ideally sat overnight in the freezer), add to a freezer bag, freezer jars or freezer-safe containers and freeze until ready to use. If you use freezer bags, lay them flat to freeze. Once completely frozen, you can stack them (like books) and save freezer space. To reheat, defrost overnight and simply reheat in the microwave or in a pan on the stove.

We like to freeze in individual serving sizes for an easy grab-and-go lunch for work. If there aren’t enough leftovers in the fridge for work the next day, I just place one of these in the fridge the night before and I have a delicious lunch for work.

Tips for Making Veggie & Barley Soup

This soup does take a while to make, about 2 1/2 hours – but that’s what makes it so good.  The flavors simmer and the seasonings really make the soup sing! The barley and wild rice are optional, but I really, really, really recommend the barley.  It might seem expensive at the store, but a small bag will make you several batches of soup.  It’s just delicious!

This is a very hearty and thick soup. If the soup is too thick for your taste, feel free to add more water to this recipe while it simmers on the stove.

Try more incredible meatless soup recipes:

Thick & Hearty Veggie and Barley Soup

Delicious, hearty vegetarian soup
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Soup
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Author Jayme


  • 64 ounces beef broth (8 cups)
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 (14 ounce) can of diced tomatoes undrained
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 2 cups carrots chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup barley optional
  • 1/2 cup wild rice optional


  • In a large stockpot, bring broth, onion, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, salt & pepper to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 90 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, water, barley & rice. Return to boiling, then cover.
  • Reduce heat and let simmer for 1 hour or until veggies are tender. Add more water if “too thick”.
  • Remove bay leaves and serve!
  • Freezer directions: Let cool and and put in freezer-friendly bags or containers. Make sure you label it!

Jayme is a wife to 1 and a mother to four little boys. She tries to coupon, builds a smart stockpile, and always meal plans. While she likes to cook, she’s in the stage of life where simple is usually better – she never knows how many hands she’ll have free at dinner time! You can find her on Instagram.

Editor’s Note – Updated in May 2021 for freshness and comprehensiveness.

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