All Seasons/ Dinner/ Main Dish

Barley Mushroom Soup with Sausage & Peppers

September 7, 2022
Rich & hearty Barley Mushroom Soup with meatballs and spinach. A fall favorite! Easy, delicious & great reheated as leftovers.

This Barley Mushroom Soup recipe is rich, hearty, and full of flavor. The main ingredients are barley, mushrooms, sausage, peppers, spinach, and canned navy beans. The mirepoix sets a delicious base while the tomato paste and paprika bring hints of umami and smokey spice. Let all of these ingredients simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour as the barley softens and soaks up all that flavor. Perfect for those cold soup days and is just as good heated up the next day.

Shorten the Cook Time by Cooking Sausages Instead of Meatballs

This recipe calls for making small sausage meatballs; however, if you want to shorten the preparation time, you can simply cook the sausage as is. You can leave it in small pieces or mash it into ground meat as it cooks. The flavor doesn’t change with this alteration, it’s just a matter of whether you prefer meatballs or not.

For Vegetarians:

There’s also protein present in the barley and navy beans, so if you’re vegan or vegetarian you could very well leave the sausage/sausage out altogether. Or, you could replace the sausage with seitan, tempeh, or tofu. Cheese could be replaced with nutritional yeast and chicken stock substituted with vegetable stock.

Barley Mushroom Soup with hearty meatballs and spinach. Perfect for a cold soup day! Great reheated as leftovers.

Barley: The Perfect Nutrient-Packed Flavor Absorber

My favorite part of this soup is the barley. Not only do you feel great eating it because of the many health benefits, but the taste and texture are incredible! When cooked into a soup, especially one with strong flavors, the barley absorbs and takes on those flavors resulting in a soft, chewy texture. Every time I cook barley for someone who’s never tasted it before they’ll say it’s just as good if not better than rice. Never know when you could be pleasantly surprised by these so-called “superfoods”!

Protein, Vitamin & Mineral Packed

This Mushroom Barley Soup recipe is packed with protein from sausage and beans, but the barley actually adds another 10g to the dish. Not to mention it’s a great source of vitamin B (niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6)) folate, iron, magnesium, selenium, and fiber. Long story short, vitamins and minerals do a great job of supporting cardiovascular health.

Ways to Use Barley

I love mixing barley into a multigrain rice bowl – this is the recipe that taught me how to start making multi-grain rice (a Maangchi recipe). If you remotely like Korean food and haven’t checked out Maangchi on Youtube or her website, I highly recommend it! She does an amazing job of disseminating her Korean cooking traditions to the masses with recipes that are easy to make and fun to try.

You can also use barley in salads whether you steam it and dress with a vinaigrette or “puff” it for some added crunch. Since it’s currently still summer as I write this, I’ve been using barley in tabbouli-type salads with lots of herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a tahini-lemon dressing. I think it’d be interesting to make stuffed peppers with barley and Mediterranean flavors like tomatoes, mint, nuts, etc.

Here’s a list dishes you can use barley in:

  • Rice bowls
  • Salads (steamed or “puffed” for some crunch)
  • Tabbouli and light summer salads
  • Replacement for rice
  • Mixed into meatballs
  • Braised in meat dishes
  • Smoothies (cooked)
  • Barley tea
Barley Mushroom Soup for the soup season win! Hearty, healthy, and delicious. Perfect for the cold winter months, plus it's superb as a leftover!

More Soups to Delight in this Fall & Winter Season:

Barley Mushroom Soup

Dinner, Soup Mediterranean
By Katelyn Bailey Serves: 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 50 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

A perfect fall or winter soup--lots of warming spices and a rich, hearty flavor. Paprika and tomato paste create a striking red color while the mushrooms and sausage balls bring even more umami. The barley is simmered in the soup for about 45 minutes until it absorbs all that yummy flavor!


  • For the Sausage Meatballs (you can also just cook ground sausage by itself if you want to save some time!):
  • 1/2 lb sausage
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan or pecorino cheese, grated
  • Salt to taste
  • For the Soup:
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced (or any sort of mild red pepper)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 can of navy beans, or similar white beans (rinsed)
  • 1/2 cup of barley
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • A dash of smoked paprika
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach, or more if you like
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Making the Sausage Meatballs *optional:


Make the sausage balls; that is, if you choose to do this step. This soup is really good with the sausage cooked ground up as well.


To make the balls, mix the breadcrumbs and milk together and let it sit for a minute or two.


Next, toss in the egg yolk, sausage, garlic, cheese, and salt.


Mix this together until thoroughly combined.


Roll into small, 1/2 inch balls and place on a plate.

Making the Soup:


Brown the sausage meatballs in a little olive oil or simply cooking the ground sausage as is. This should take around 5-7 minutes over medium heat for the meatballs or 4-5 minutes for ground sausage.


Once browned, remove the sausage balls to a plate, lower the heat to medium-low, and toss in the mirepoix (onion, celery, and carrots). Let this cook down until softened, about 4-5 minutes stirring often.


Next, toss in the mushrooms and pepper until slightly soften, another 3-5 minutes.


Toss in the garlic and paprikas and cook for a minute.


Mix in the tomato paste and then pour in the beans, barley, and chicken stock.


Simmer on medium-low or low (definitely low for a gas stove) for 45 minutes until the barley is cooked. You may need to add more water or broth as it reduces.


Lastly, add the spinach and sausage back in for another 5 minutes .


Adjust for seasoning and serve in your favorite soup bowls. Hope you enjoy!


  • 464 Calories
  • 39.5g Carbohydrates
  • 103mg Cholesterol
  • 21.4g Fat
  • 9.7g Fiber
  • 28.9g Protein
  • 7g Saturated fat
  • 1978mg Sodium
  • 6.8g Sugar


Once cooled, this soup will store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

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