Nutritious, Vegetable Barley Soup


What a delicious, healthy, vegan, vegetarian soup!  This full bodied soup is a great way to get your dose of veggies.  Kids love it too!  Along with all the veggies, I’ve added some whole grain, fiber rich barley. Each cup of soup has 74 calories, 0 grams fat and 2 Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS.  Make a pot and enjoy it all week long or freeze some to enjoy at a moments notice.  One thing I know for sure, it’s one of the healthiest ways to start your meal or enjoy as a snack.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes


8 cups vegetable broth, see shopping tip

2 cups water

½ cup pearl barley, see shopping tip

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

½ tablespoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced

½ teaspoon dried sage

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1½ cups onions, chopped

1 cup carrots, diced

1 cup zucchini, diced

1 cup yellow squash, diced

2 cups fresh spinach, packed

1 cup fresh corn, cut from the cob (about 2 cobs) or frozen corn kernels

Fresh ground pepper, to taste


1. In a large pot, add the broth, water, barley, bay leaves, soy sauce, thyme, garlic, sage and cumin.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour.

2. Stir in onions, carrots, zucchini and yellow squash.  Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender about 25-30 minutes.

3. Stir in spinach and corn.  Add fresh ground pepper, to taste.   Remove from heat and discard bay leaves.

4. Serve at once or store in the fridge.  This soup freezes great.

Makes 10 cups

Healthy Benefits

The benefits of eating soup are endless.  It can be nutritious, providing a full serving of vegetables in one bowl.  According to a research study published in “Appetite” in November 2007, consuming soup enhances satiety or a feeling of fullness, reducing caloric intake.  Results showed consuming any type of soup significantly reduced test meal intake and total caloric intake by 20 percent compared with having no soup.  Since the type of soup did not significantly effect total caloric intake, choosing a low-calorie soup before eating a meal is a recommended strategy for lowering total caloric intake.  This offers benefits for weight management and even weight loss.

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.

Shopping Tips

Most supermarkets carry vegetable broth in a 4-cup (32 oz) carton.  I used the brand, Organics, sold at Vons/Safeway.  Trader Joe’s sells an organic one that’s a little lower in sodium.  It’s not their reduced-sodium one but their regular organic broth.  Swanson’s also makes a delicious tasting vegetable broth but it’s the highest in sodium.

Pearl barley can be found in the aisle where rice and dried beans are sold.

Serving Tips

The ingredients and possible combinations are virtually limitless.  Add any of your favorite vegetables to this soup.  If you want to make it heartier, to serve as a main course, add some beans, chicken or lean beef.

Weight Watchers
old points 1
Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS

SKINNY FACTS: for 1 cup
74 calories, 0g fat, 0g sat. fat, 0mg chol, 2g protein,16g carbs, 3.4g fiber, 475mg sodium, 2g sugar
FAT FACTS: the skinny and fat facts are the same for this recipe

If you make this recipe, let me know how you liked it. Leave me a comment below or give it a rating. Thanks so much. Happy Skinny Cooking!