Skinny Beef, Vegetable and Barley Soup (Crock Pot or Stove Top)


Skinny Beef, Vegetable and Barley Soup (Crock Pot or Stove Top)
If you love a thick, flavorful, hearty soup, this one’s for you!!! And serving a main course soup for dinner is so healthy and satisfying. Any leftovers freeze great. I’ve included directions for cooking this easy, one-dish meal either on the stovetop or crockpot. Each serving (1½ cups) has only 172 calories and 2 grams of fat. Serve with a side salad and you are all set for dinner!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Crock Pot Time on Low: 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 172kcal


  • 1 pound package lean ground beef (96%), see shopping tips
  • 2 (32-oz) containers Swanson’s reduced-sodium beef broth or your favorite broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can Swanson’s reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can tomatoes, diced
  • ¾ cup dried pearl barley, see shopping tips
  • cups carrots, sliced
  • cups celery, sliced
  • cups onions, chopped
  • cups zucchini, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups fresh spinach leaves


Instructions for Stove-Top:

  • In a large nonstick pot or pan, brown ground beef. Pour into a colander in sink and drain fat. Add beef back to pot. Pour in all the beef broth, tomatoes, and barley. Bring to a boil, turn down to simmer, cover pot, and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Add the carrots, celery, onions, zucchini, and garlic to the broth. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, thyme, sage, and fresh ground pepper. Cook uncovered 50 minutes.
  • Stir in spinach leaves and cook 2 minutes more. Remove the bay leaf.

Instructions for Crock-Pot:

  • Note: You’ll need a large (6 quart) crock-pot. If you don’t have one this large, you can use a smaller crock-pot and cut the recipe in half.
  • In a large nonstick pot or pan, brown ground beef. Pour into a colander in sink and drain fat.
  • Place beef and all ingredients in the crock-pot, except spinach. Mix together well.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or on HIGH heat for 3½ hours until veggies and barley are soft. Stir in spinach, cover, and cook on high for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
  • This soup freezes great.


Makes 12 cups total: 8 main course servings (1½ cups each)
Healthy Benefits
Pearled barley is high in cholesterol-lowering fiber and very low in fat. A single serving offers 11% of the RDA of iron and has a fair amount of folate and niacin.

Shopping Tips
Trader Joe’s extra lean ground beef is a terrific, healthy choice. It has 130 calories and 4 grams of fat for 4 ounces. If you can’t find beef this lean, look for the leanest kind you can find. The fat will cut down more since you drain the fat in a colander after browning.
You can find dried pearl barley in the supermarket aisle with the dried beans.

Looking to buy a crock-pot? Here’s one of my favorites: 
Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S 6-Quart Programmable Cook and Carry Oval Slow Cooker, Digital Timer, Stainless Steel
WW Freestyle SmartPoints 3-Blue
WW SmartPoints
SKINNY FACTS: for 1½ cups serving
172 calories, 2g fat, 1g sat. fat, 25mg chol, 17g protein, 21g carbs, 4g fiber, 704mg sodium, 4g sugar
FACTS: for SmartPoints
142 calories, 1g sat. fat, 2g sugar, 16g protein

Skinny Facts

Serving: 1.5cupsCalories: 172kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 17gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 704mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4gBlue Smart Points: 3Green Smart Points: 3Plus Points: 4

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!

Recipe Rating