Hearty Vegetable Soup with Pearl Barley

We’ve had some beautiful warm and sunny days this winter, but no matter what the day brings, the evenings are always cold enough for soup. It’s my staple at this time of year and you may as well make enough for later..

This is one of my favourites. It’s deliciously thick and hearty and nobody in my house ever complains that there is “only” soup for dinner!

You can make this a vegan soup, but generally, it’s always tastier when you use a proper stock. Stock – now known as bone broth – has loads of health properties and the longer it brews, the better…

I rarely measure ingredients but I’ve given an idea here of what quantities I usually use. You can also use whatever veg you like so just play around with the recipe – don’t get too stuck. I just happen to like this particular combo – and obviously organic produce where possible is better!

I generally prefer to make this in the morning and let it simmer all day on a low heat so it’s ready for dinner. It’s also much more flavoursome the next day…


Bone Broth

Fill a large crock pot with enough water to cover the bones – perhaps a chicken carcass or two, a ham hock or beef bones – along with some herbs and seasoning. Bring to boil and then turn heat very low to simmer. I often simmer mine for two days but be careful..You don’t want to burn the house down or gas yourself!

– Drain the stock through a colander lined with a clean tea towel. Cool. You can separate this into batches and freeze if you like.


  • – Fry a large onion in ghee or another type of oil on a low to medium heat until golden. Add a clove or two of garlic, perhaps a smidgeon of turmeric, some bayleaves, coriander powder, salt, pepper…whatever you fancy.
  • – Add approximately three chopped zucchini to the mix and lightly brown.
  • – You can use a tin but it’s much nicer to chop the corn off the cobs…I use two or three. Add to mix, keep stirring.
  • – Add a chopped carrot or two and a large, chopped sweet potato and a tin of white beans (rinsed). Keep stirring.
  • – Finally add two cups of pearl barley, a jar of passata and your stock. Bring to boil and then simmer for five hours or so – basically until the barley is nice and soft and the soup is thick and all the flavours and ingredients have amalgamated.
  • Stir occasionally, add more liquid if the barley over thickens your soup. Cool and perhaps freeze what you don’t use.
  • Optional: Add a handful of pasta 15 mins before serving.