Renew yourself with bowls of savory Instant Pot mushroom barley soup with 11 easy ingredients starring our best hearty and healthy vegan recipe. Stovetop instructions included!
Savory comfort food – The flavors of the earthy mushrooms, coupled with the vegan beef broth and soy sauce, merge to create a rich and flavorful soup with a thick, brothy texture.
Easy – This is an easy recipe that requires 11 ingredients, all readily available. But don’t let the limited ingredients fool you – this is a tasty and hearty soup.
Healthy vegan – Our favorite way to cook! Vegan, so dairy-free and beefless, and prepared with no added oil.
Versatile cooking methods – This is another of our favorite Instant Pot recipes. It ranks high on our list of cold day soup recipes overall. The good news is that this mushroom barley soup recipe can also be made on the stovetop, and of course, another kind of electric pressure cooker. The cooking time might vary, but it’s so good, you’ll want to try them all.
Onions, celery, carrots – These three vegetables make up the mirepoix. This is a French term for a foundational base of vegetables. Learning a new culinary word? Check!
Fresh mushrooms – I used chestnut mushrooms for this soup. They are a darker strain of button mushrooms (white mushrooms) which you can also use for this recipe. Baby Bella (cremini) mushrooms or a mix of different mushrooms will also work for this recipe.
Dried mushrooms – This recipe uses dried porcini mushrooms; however, you can also use dried shiitake or cremini, depending on what you have available.
Barley – Hulled barley is a whole grain which is why we used it. This is barley that has the outer husk removed. Pearl barley is more common, and you can use it for this recipe, but it is not as nutritious. This is because it has the bran layer removed in addition to the husk. Think of the difference between brown and white rice.
Vegan beef stock – You can find vegan ‘beef’ stock (cubes or cartons) or vegan beef broth in many larger supermarkets, healthy food stores, or online. If you cannot find it, use vegetable stock or mushroom broth. If you want to enrich the flavor, consider adding a tablespoon of tomato paste.
Soy sauce – Soy sauce or Tamari gives the stock a deeper flavor. I used 2 tablespoons. After the soup is cooked, you can add more if desired.
- Start by dicing and soaking the dried mushrooms in 1 cup of hot water. Do this first so that they are soft when you add them to the soup.
- Set the Instant Pot to Sauté and allow it to heat before adding the onions, carrots, and celery. Adding veggies to a hot pot is the best way to keep them from sticking.
- When you add the mushrooms, they will produce their own moisture that will help to deglaze the bottom of the Instant Pot. Let that moisture release so that the mushrooms firm up before you cook the soup.
- The spices are kept to a minimum here with thyme, garlic powder, and bay leaf. You can substitute 2 fresh thyme sprigs for dried thyme. If you want to add more or like a spicier soup, consider a pinch of cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, or crushed red chili. And a few turns of black pepper over bowls of soup is always a good thing.
- Once you add the remaining ingredients, including the vegan stock (broth), be sure to use a wooden spoon or something non-abrasive to clear the bottom of the pot. Remember: Brown bits on the bottom of the Instant Pot can lead to the dreaded ‘food burning’ alert.
- Once you turn off the Sauté function, place the top on the Instant Pot. Set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 25 minutes and seal the steam release valve. Once the soup has finished cooking, leave the top on for a natural pressure release of 15 minutes. Then, carefully unseal the steam valve in the quick release position and let off the rest of the steam before removing the lid.
Stove Top Instructions: Heat a large pot to medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots. Continue with the recipe as instructed. Once you've added all the ingredients, bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmering. Cover the pot and simmer the soup for 45 minutes or until the barley is tender.
It’s easy to freeze mushroom barley soup. Be sure to allow the soup to completely cool, then place it in tightly sealed containers or freezer bags. To thaw the soup, place the containers in the refrigerator or on the countertop. Then, heat in a saucepan or in the microwave.
Mushroom barley soup is as good as the ingredients you use for your recipe. Our mushroom and barley soup is made with whole food barley, no additional oil, and is vegan, so it is a healthy as it gets!
Vegan mushroom barley soup will last in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Place it in a sealed container and refrigerate it.
Barley needs only to be rinsed before cooking it. This removes any dust that might accumulate from packaging and shipping. Dry barley behaves similarly to other grains such as rice. Once you rinse it, cook it according to the recipe (or package) directions.
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Savory Instant Pot Mushroom Barley Soup
Renew yourself with bowls of savory Instant Pot mushroom barley soup with 11 easy ingredients starring our best hearty and healthy vegan recipe.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 65 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
- Yield: 8 1x
- Category: Soups
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms diced
- 1 medium onion, diced, (1 ½ cups)
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced (1 cup)
- 2 stalks of celery, diced, (1 cup)
- 16 ounces (454 grams) of mushrooms (see notes for options)
- 2 teaspoons of dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 cup of barley (whole barley preferred)
- 7 cups vegan beef broth (or vegetable broth)
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce or Tamari
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Soak the dried mushrooms. After dicing the dried mushrooms, place them in a bowl and cover them with 1 cup of boiling water.
- Sauté the veggies. Set the Instant Pot to Saute and allow it to heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook the ingredients for about 3 minutes. Stir them to keep them from sticking.
- Add the mushrooms. Mix the mushrooms with the rest of the vegetables and cook them until they soften and release their moisture.
- Add the rest of the ingredients. Add the dried mushrooms, along with their soaking water. Then add the thyme, garlic powder, barley, broth, soy sauce, and bay leaves. Mix all the ingredients and turn off the Sauté function.
- Clear the bottom of the pot. Use a wooden spoon or another non-abrasive utensil to clear the bottom of the Instant Pot. This is important so that the Instant Pot doesn’t think the ingredients are burning (usually, they aren’t).
- Cook the soup. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and set the steam handle to Sealing. Select High Pressure for 25 minutes and turn off the Warming setting.
- Natural Release. After the Instant Pot has finished pressure cooking and the beeper has sounded, leave it alone for 15 minutes (nature pressure release).
- Open the steam release. Manually open the steam release valve and let the pot de-pressurize. Then, remove the lid.
- Finish the soup. Stir the soup, then taste the barley to ensure that it is tender. Season with additional soy sauce or salt/pepper as desired.
- This recipe uses a 6-quart Instant Pot. I have allowed 15 minutes for the Instant Pot to heat up. The time may be adjusted up or down depending on how long it takes to start the cooking process.
- This recipe uses chestnut mushrooms, a darker strain of button mushrooms that you can also use. Baby Bella (cremini) mushrooms or a mushroom mix will also work for this recipe.
- Look for vegan beef-flavored broth in larger supermarkets or specialty stores. If you cannot find it, substitute vegetable broth or mushroom broth. You may want to add more soy sauce for a deeper flavor.
- Stovetop instructions. Heat a large pot to medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots. Continue with the recipe as instructed. Once you've added all the ingredients, bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmering. Cover the pot and simmer the soup for 45 minutes or until the barley is tender.
Keywords: instant pot, mushroom barley soup, vegan, plant-based, vegan beef stock