Vegetable and barley soup

A bowl of vegetable barley soup on a napkin alongside some slices of bread and herbs.

Nothing is more welcoming on a cool day than a homemade meal, and this nourishing vegetable barley soup is sure to please. Packed with hearty vegetables, this colourful, vitamin-packed dish will warm you up from head to toe. 

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes 


  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced 
  • 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped 
  • 1/2 cup pot or pearl barley
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 fresh or dry bay leaves
  • 1 green pepper, diced 
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 tbsp roasted pepita seeds (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese to taste (optional)
  • Hot sauce to taste (optional)


In a soup pot, heat oil over medium heat and cook onion and garlic for 2 minutes. Add squash, parsnips and barley; stir to coat. Add broth, thyme and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender but firm. Add pepper and tomatoes and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes or until barley is tender. Remove thyme and bay leaves.
Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle with pepita seeds if using.
Sprinkle the soup with fresh grated parmesan cheese and a splash of hot sauce for another level of flavour to each bowl.

Tip: Substitute your favourite squash or pumpkin for the butternut squash.

This recipe is courtesy of Half Your Plate.