Vegetable Beef & Barley Soup

Gosh, it’s cold here. And I know our 10 degrees is nothing compared to some of my friends up north, who have been fairing in the negative temperatures this week. In this kind of weather, there’s nothing that’s better than a big pot of soup bubbling away on the stove.

Soups was one of the things I found hardest to “get right” in the kitchen when I was just learning how to cook. My mom made THE BEST vegetable beef soup, and for something that seemed so simple – the hell if I could ever get it right. I finally figured out I was being too fussy with it, it really does come down to simplicity. And time. Time is key too. Unlike chicken soups, beef soups don’t take all day. With the aid of a good store-bough beef stock (I personally love the Campbell’s brand found in the condensed soup aisle) a delicious, hearty, and filling soup can be on your dinner table in just a couple hours.

We usually reserve this meal for when I’ve cooked a roast of beef – either a big fancy prime rib roast, or a more affordable cut like an eye-of-the-round. In fact, I think we all might look forward to the second meal of soup than the first meal of roast beef! Well, I do at least. I can’t speak for the 3 other carnivores in my house. Did I tell you guys we found out Baby #3 is ANOTHER BOY?! It’s a good thing I love to cook, as I’m going to have quite a few bottomless pits to feed in a few years with three growing boys in the house! Big pots of soup will be my savior, and this one is my absolute favorite!

Don’t be afraid to play around with veggie combinations either. This is just usually what I have on hand in the pantry, and in the freezer – so I go with that. But I love to add chopped cabbage if I have that hanging around, or any other veggies that are hanging out in the fridge at the time. You can’t really go wrong with anything in here. I hope it becomes a favorite in your home too!


  1. Posted January 9, 2014 at 7:47 PM | Permalink

    This looks perfect. Makes me want to make some barley soup this weekend!

  2. Kim in MD
    Posted January 15, 2014 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

    I can’t remember the last time it was that cold here in Maryland! This soup looks so delicious and comforting. Congratulations on your pregnancy, Laura! You are definitely going to be very busy in a few years keeping three growing boys fed!

  3. Janet
    Posted February 29, 2016 at 5:20 PM | Permalink

    I have some leftover pot roast – would that work for this soup? Do you cook this with the bones in the pot for the entire cooking time? And can you use more than 4 cups of beef broth and less of the 12 cups water? Love my soup more beefy tasting, not watery. Thank you!

    • Posted March 1, 2016 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

      Yes, if I have bones I add them in the beginning. You can certainly up the amount of beef broth and reduce water (I always eyeball it anyways!). I’ve not tried it with leftover pot roast, and not sure how it would work as most beef has given up most of it’s flavor during a braise. It’s also more likely to break apart if it’s already falling apart tender. I don’t think it would be bad though – just add it during the last 30 minutes of cooking instead of an entire hour. Good luck! 🙂

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