Vegetable Beef and Barley Soup
One of my favorite soups from when I was a kid was a vegetable beef and barley soup… from a can of condensed soup, of course, as that was the trend. This version is packed full of wholesome ingredients, and none of the bad, making it a hearty healthy meal.
Vegetable beef and barley soup is easy on the budget as you can use the less ideal cuts of beef (like round steak) diced into bite size morsels or stew meat. Since these cuts of meat tend to be more tough, I put them in a slow cooker with the vegetables for a few hours to soften into tender melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Then, I add the remaining ingredients and continue to slow cook another few hours until all the ingredients have melded together and the barley and vegetables are tender. The resulting taste is a perfect blend of earthy and nutty goodness in a comforting bowl of bliss. Barley is a gluten containing grain (less so than wheat) so if you need to stay gluten-free, you can substitute Asian barley (also called Job’s tears) or arborio rice for a similar taste and texture.
- 1-2 pounds stew meat or other beef (or venison) cut into bite size pieces
- 1 cup turnips, parsnips or potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1-2 cups celery, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste if needed)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen green beans, cut into bite size pieces
- 1 cup peas
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon basil
- ½ teaspoon marjoram
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- ½-1 cup tomato sauce
- ½ cup barley, Asian barley or Arborio rice
- 4 cups beef or vegetable broth
- water if needed to achieve desired consistency
- Place beef, turnips, celery, carrots, onion, garlic and salt in a slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Cook on low about 4-5 hours until meat is fully cooked and begins to become tender.
- Add remaining ingredients and continue cooking 2-4 hours until barley is tender.
- The barley will make the soup much thicker as it cooks so if you need to add water, do so as it's cooking until you reach your desired consistency.