Easy Instant Pot vegetable soup with barley! This vegan vegetable barley soup recipe is rich with flavor and quick enough for a weeknight meal.
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Hiya, Rhubarbarians! Another weeknight dinner recipe for you today. Instant Pot vegetable soup! Loaded with mushrooms and barley and soooo much good stuff.
Check out our Instant Pot vegetable barley soup web story!
I'm getting quite a bit more out of my Instant Pot these days. I think I'm FINALLY comfortable enough to make most things without having to google it first. It took a while though. I remember when Instant Pot baked potatoes were amazing to me, LOL! I'm now learning how to build flavor (ahem.. amazingly flavorful Instant Pot cacciatore) and cook some pretty impressive dishes. BOOYAH!
Why you'll love this
We build so much flavor into the broth by browning the vegetables before pressure cooking the barley. The barley pressure cooks in the broth so you get a rich and flavorful soup with tender barley quickly without any fuss.
Ingredients and equipment
Full ingredients and instructions are listed in the recipe card at the bottom of this article.
- Oil: for cooking. we like olive oil.
- Mire poix vegetables: carrots, onion, and celery finely diced.
- Mushrooms: cremini or baby bella.
- Garlic: fresh garlic, minced.
- Tomatoes: canned diced.
- Bay leaves: dried.
- Vegetable stock: we love the Better Than Bouillon seasoned vegetable base.
- Pearl barley: make sure you have pearl barley and not hulled barley. Bob's Red Mill pearl barley is our favorite.
- Salt and pepper: for seasoning.
- Fresh parsley: for serving.
- An Instant Pot: we have the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 6 quart size.
- Measuring spoons: for measuring ingredients.
- Cutting board: for chopping ingredients.
- Chef's knife: for chopping ingredients.
- Measuring cups: for measuring ingredients.
- Stirring utensil: like a wooden spoon or spoonula. The OXO spoonula is our favorite!
- Ladle: for serving the soup.
- Bowls and spoons: for serving the soup.
How to make a rich and flavorful vegetable barley soup
It's not difficult to make a rich and flavorful plant based vegetable soup. The key: build flavor by sauteeing the veggies. This isn't a dump and start IP recipe. You want to bring all that great flavor out of the veggies and then let everything simmer with the barley. First, brown the onions, then saute the rest of the veggies with the browned onions. Mmmm....
Using a mire poix (onion, carrot, and celery) will build the base of the flavor that you're looking for. Adding earthy mushrooms will give you that umami flavor while the bay leaves will brighten up the soup just enough to keep it from being too heavy and flat.
I definitely suggest finding a vegetable broth that you love. My favorite is the Better Than Bouillon organic seasoned vegetable base. It's a concentrated base that you add hot water to. Perfect for soups because you can add as much or as little of the concentrate as you want, so it doesn't just taste like veggie stock.
Flavorful vegan soups you will love:
Is vegetable barley soup healthy?
Yes! Vegetable barley soup is healthy! Obviously the veggies are very healthy. I don't think there's any question there. What you REALLY want to know is: is barley healthy?
This recipe (and most vegetable barley soup recipes) use pearl barley. Pearl barley is a processed grain, where the hull has been removed and the grain has been "polished" or "pearled." Although pearl barley is not a whole grain, it does have quite a few nutritional benefits.
Pearl barley is low in calories and is also low on the glycemic index. It contains beta-glucan, which can normalize your body's insulin response. It's also loaded with dietary fiber, which means it takes longer to digest and will keep you full for a very long time.
As long you keep the sodium levels low, this soup is a very healthy meal!
Can I freeze it?
Yes, you can freeze vegetable soup with barley! The barley may not be *as* al-dente as it will be when it's freshly made, but it will still be delicious.
Freeze for up to three months in a well sealed container. Thaw in the refrigerator and heat in a sauce pan. SO EASY!
How to make Instant Pot vegetable barley soup
First, get all of your vegetables chopped. Things can move pretty quickly once you add the veggies, so make sure those are prepped!
Brown those onions in the Instant Pot using the saute function. Add the rest of the veggies and saute those as well. Then add the liquid, the bay leaves, and the barley. Stir together and turn off the saute function.
Pressure cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. It takes about 15 minutes for the Instant Pot to fully come to pressure and about 3 minutes to manually release the pressure, so 28 minutes of closed lid time.
Serve with a bit of fresh parsley and enjoy!
Can I make this on the stove top?
You definitely can make this on the stove top! I suggest a dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat to saute all the veggies as stated in the instructions.
Once you add all the liquid and the barley, bring just to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the barley is cooked to your liking.
I've made this both on the stove top and in the Instant Pot, and I prefer the Instant Pot version. I feel like the flavors marry together more quickly when pressure cooked and it saves you about 10 minutes when all is said and done.
Instant Pot soups you will love:
Instant Pot vegetable soup with barley
- 2 tablespoon olive oil or mild flavored cooking oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 5 cups diced cremini or baby bella mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 cups diced carrot
- 2 cups diced celery
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 medium dried bay leaves
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- ¾ cup pearl barley
- salt and pepper
- fresh parsley for serving (optional)
- Turn on the saute function on your Instant Pot to normal. Heat the oil and saute the onions until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the mushroms, garlic, carrot, and celery. Saute, stirring often, 10 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, vegetable stock, and barley. Give a good stir and hit cancel to stop the saute function.
- Put the lid on your Instant Pot and make sure the sealing valve is set to sealing. Turn on the pressure cooker function on your Instant Pot to high pressure for 10 minutes.
- When the timer goes off, manually release the pressure and open the lid. Remove the bay leaves from the soup and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh parsley. Enjoy!
If you make this recipe, please let me know on social media or in the comments below! Leave a star rating in your comment or tag me on Instagram with #Rhubarbarians.
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Hope you enjoy this Instant Pot recipe!
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