Thursday, October 8, 2009

Shitake Mushroom and Barley Soup

We picked up some fresh organic shitake mushrooms this weekend from our CSA. I try to use shitakes every week since they boost the immune system. A study released earlier this year showed that women that regularly consume fresh or dry mushrooms are less likely to have breast cancer. Sounds like a good reason to eat mushrooms to me. Barley has been shown to reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol more effectively than oat bran so I always feel good about making anything with barley.

The weather was a little chilly here so I wanted a nice warm soup with dinner tonight. Before the soup had a bowl of strawberries and blueberries before dinner while the soup simmered away in the kitchen. Since we have been eating very little added sugar it is amazing how sweet a simple bowl of berries tastes. We had the berries because they inhibit angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth) thus killing cancer tumors. The more you learn about fresh produce you more you realize that if it is unprocessed it is probably good for your health.

This soup simmered for about an hour while we ate our fruit and then digested a little. However, the soup was ready about 15 minutes before we ate. The total time it takes to make this soup will depend on how quickly you can dice the veggies. The entire process took about one hour and 5 minutes at my house. As with all soups this is great if you make it the day before as the flavors blend as it sits. I try to make soups the day before while I am cleaning up the kitchen from dinner. At least that is what happens when I am organized.

Shitake Mushroom and Barley Soup
Serves 4


2 red onions, peeled and finely minced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, finely diced
vegetable stock necessary to cook veg and barley (approximately 8 cups), no salt added
½ pound shitake mushrooms, stems removed, and sliced
1 cup barley, uncooked
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon thyme leaves, dried
¾ teaspoon marmite
truffle oil, for serving - optional


Place the onions, carrots, celery and garlic in a large pan and add enough vegetable stock to cover. Cook over high until the vegetables are soft and add more vegetable stock if necessary. When the aromatics are soft add the remaining ingredients and cook until the barley is soft (about 45 minutes). Taste the soup for seasoning and add salt and pepper as necessary.

To serve, you can drizzle a little black truffle oil on each serving or top with fresh minced parsley.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 244.34
Calories From Fat (3%) - 8.16

Total Fat - 0.96g
Saturated Fat - 0.19g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 107.92mg
Potassium - 489.76mg
Total Carbohydrates - 53.15g
Fiber - 12.03g
Sugar - 3.93g
Protein - 7.71g


This soup was very filling. I think it was the barley that gave it that stick to your ribs quality. We ate this soup about an hour ago and I am still full. I was going to serve a green salad after the soup but we both were too full. Oh well, we had plenty of veggies today and still need to have another ½ serving of Green Vibrance before bed.


  1. I will add this to my list of recipes to make from your site. It's very comforting but not fattening.

  2. Shenandoah,

    Thanks. We enjoyed it too.

    Hope you are feeling better,

  3. if it is unprocessed it is probably good for your health...its pretty amazing.

  4. Michelle,

    Nice to have you back. How is the move going?


  5. pretty well. its always on the tip of my toungue to nag him into going

  6. I'm just making this soup, and I must say it smells marvelous! Can't wait to try it! Thanks for the lovely (and healthy) recipe.

  7. Roia,

    Thanks for letting me know. I hope you like it as much as we did. I bought more shitakes today at the market .... maybe they will become a different healthy soup.



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