Did you ever wonder how to make this popular, robust and filling soup? Happily, it’s super easy to prepare. It’s loaded with fresh mushrooms, fiber rich barley and vegetables. In fact, 1 cup has 5 grams of fiber! Just by swapping reduced-fat butter for regular, I’ve cut the fat from 6.2 grams down to a mere 2.5. The skinny for 1 cup is 142 calories, 2.5 grams of fat and 4 Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS. Normally this soup is made with chicken broth but, you can make it vegetarian by using vegetable broth instead. It’s best made the day before you want to serve it. The flavors become enhanced overnight. So make a pot of this pipping hot, hearty and nourishing soup. You’ll be so happy you did!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
1¼ pounds mushrooms (white button, crimini or both), see shopping tip
¼ cup reduced-fat butter or Smart Balance Light
1 large onion, chopped
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, chopped
1 medium potato, peeled, diced small
1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup celery, chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
8 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, I like Swanson’s
1 cup pearl barley
2 bay leaves
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1. Wash mushrooms, trim stems and slice. Set aside.
2. Melt butter in large nonstick soup pot or large deep nonstick pan over medium heat. Do not let butter brown. Add onions, leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic. Saute until tender, about 6 minutes, stirring quite often. Add mushrooms. Cook 3 minutes.
3. Pour in chicken broth, barley, potato, and bay leaves. Bring to boil over high heat, reduce to low, cover and simmer about 50 minutes.
Season to taste with fresh ground pepper.
4. Season to taste with fresh ground pepper. Remove bay leaves and discard. Cool slightly.
5. Store cooled soup in the fridge overnight. This soup is best served the next day. The flavors come alive.
Makes 10 cups (each serving 1 cup)
Mushroom barley soup has roots in the Ashkenazi Jewish communities of Eastern Europe. Mushrooms were popular in these cold-weather countries because they could be harvested, dried and stored for later use.
Barley is arguably the world’s first and most ancient cultivated grain. It dates back to the Stone Age. A recipe for barley wine was found engraved on a Babylonian Brick.
Mushrooms are very nutritious. They contain fiber, iron, niacin, folate, vitamin C and complex carbohydrates.
Barley is extremely rich in dietary fiber and low in fat. One serving offers 11% of the RDA of iron and contains a fair amount of folate and niacin.
I found 10 ounce bags of washed and sliced mushrooms at Trader Joe’s. You can use one bag of white button and one bag of crimini. These will save a tremendous amount of prep time!
If you’re looking for this soup to taste just the deli’s, use Swanson’s reduced-sodium chicken broth, however, if you’re on a strict low-sodium diet, look for a chicken broth with less sodium then this one has.
This soup is perfect to start off a meal but can be served as the main course too. Add some cooked chicken to make it even heartier.
Weight Watchers (old points) 2
Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS 4
|SKINNY FACTS: for 1 cup
142 calories, 2.5g fat, 7g protein, 25g carbs, 5g fiber, 513mg sodium, 3g sugar
|FAT FACTS: for 1 cup of a deli-style recipe made with full fat ingredients
182 calories, 6.2g fat, 6g protein, 25g carbs, 5g fiber, 688mg sodium, 2g sugar