This vegetable beef barley soup recipe has lots of vegetables and slow cooked tender chunks of beef. Barley adds a chewy bite to this hearty soup. It’s filling and great for chilly days.
The short, cold days of winter call for comfort food in the form of your favorite soups and stews! Go for something flavorful and filling like Slow Cooker Lamb Tagine, The Best Ever Lentil Soup, Hearty Chili with Cocoa Powder.
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Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Parsley root adds a unique flavor to this classic beef barley soup.
- It’s a one pot meal, so less dishes and less mess.
- This soup freezes well, so it’s perfect for making a big batch to save some for later.
- Hearty beef barley soup is flavorful, filling, and comforting for winter days.
Dana’s note: This is a beloved family recipe often cooked by my Aunt Rose. Many relatives call me asking for her recipe. There is something comforting and nostalgic about this old-fashioned beef barley soup, and it’s popular in my Jewish Cooking Facebook group.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
See the recipe card below for a complete ingredient list and measurements.Jump to Recipe
- Beef flanken short ribs - Flanken refers to the way the bones on the short ribs are cut. Flanken short ribs are cut across the bones instead of between them. This was a popular cut of meat for soups in Jewish recipes in the 1900’s. It’s so flavorful and tender after cooking for a long time. If needed, you can use English cut short ribs. Boneless chuck roast or stewing meat may also be used, but the bones of the short ribs will add much more flavor than a boneless cut of meat.
- Produce - Onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and parsley root. Parsley root adds a unique flavor, but may be harder to find. You can substitute with parsnips. Mushrooms are optional.
- Red wine - Wine adds an extra depth of flavor to this barley soup, and works great as a pan deglazer. You can substitute for beef broth or water if needed.
- Tomatoes - Purée the canned tomatoes with a hand blender. If you prefer a chunkier texture, substitute for finely chopped tomatoes.
- Bob's Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix - This mix contains barley, lentils, and split peas. Manischewitz and Springfield make a similar soup mix (don't use the separate soup powder). You can substitute for regular pearl barley. If using quick barley instead, only add in the last 10-15 minutes of cooking.
- Parsley - I like to top this soup with Italian parsley.
Step by Step Photos
See the recipe card below for complete directions.Jump to Recipe
Brown seasoned short ribs on both sides in a hot pot. Set aside.
Add chopped vegetables to the pot and cook until softened.
Add wine and scrape the bottom of the pot. Add remaining ingredients to pot.
Simmer together until meat is fall-apart tender. Discard bones.
Serve hot. Garnish with a little chopped fresh parsley.
When to Serve Beef and Barley Soup
It’s great to make ahead for a busy night and then come home to a comforting dinner!
You can make this soup a day or two in advance and store covered in the refrigerator. Reheat prior to serving.
Storage and Reheating
Storage: Store leftover beef barley vegetable soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
How to freeze: Freeze soup in a freezer safe container for up to 6 months.
How to reheat: This soup reheats well in the microwave or in a pot over medium heat. Add a splash of water or beef stock if necessary.
What to Serve with Vegetable Barley Beef Soup
This soup is perfect on its own since it's filled with hearty vegetables and chewy barley. Serve it with a light side salad and a side of warm crusty bread. Serve fruit for dessert.
More Soup Recipes
Frequently Asked Questions
Using flanken cut short ribs is a great option for soup since the bones will lend their rich flavor to the broth. You can also use chuck roast or stew meat. The best cuts of beef for a beef soup are collagen-rich cuts that benefit from slow cooking time.
Yes. You can substitute the vegi soup mix for pearl barley instead. You can also use quick barley, but only add this in the last 15 minutes of cooking.
Yes, you can make beef barley vegetable soup in a slow cooker. Cook on low for about 8 hours until the meat is tender.
The Best Beef Barley Vegetable Soup Recipe
- Large pot or 6 quart dutch oven
- Cutting board
- 2 pounds beef flanken short ribs generously sprinkled with salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil divided
- 1 large onion diced small
- 1 stalk celery diced small
- 2 large carrots diced small
- 2 parsley roots diced small, or substitute parsnip
- 1 pint sliced mushrooms optional
- salt and pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ⅓ cup red wine
- 14 ounces whole peeled tomatoes usually 1 smaller can, pureed with a hand blender
- 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix which includes barley and split peas
- 4 cups filtered water
- 1 bay leaf
- handful of chopped Italian parsley for garnish
- Place a large soup pot on the stove, and turn the heat to medium. Generously sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper on both sides. A couple minutes later, add to the pot 1 teaspoon of oil and the meat in a single layer. Brown the meat well on both sides, then set aside.
- Meanwhile, chop the vegetables. After the meat is set aside, sauté the onion, celery, carrot, parsley root (optional), and mushrooms (optional) in the same pot until soft. Add another 1-2 teaspoons of oil if necessary to moisten the vegetables while sautéing. Sprinkle 2 pinches of salt and several grinds of freshly cracked pepper over the vegetables. When the vegetables are almost ready, add the garlic and sauté for a couple minutes more.
- Then add the wine, and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze and loosen any brown bits. Cook until the wine has mostly evaporated. Now add the browned beef, tomatoes, soup mix, water, bay leaf, and another 2 pinches of salt and a couple grinds of freshly cracked pepper. Stir together. Bring the ingredients to a boil, and then cover and lower the flame to a simmer. Cook for 1-½ hours or until the meat easily falls apart from the bone.
- Remove the meat to a plate or cutting board. Separate the meat from the bones and connective tissue with two forks or your fingers. Then shred or cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. Add the meat back to the pot. Discard the bay leaf, bones, and connective tissue. Taste the soup to see if it needs any more salt or black pepper. Simmer for a few minutes more or up to another half hour until the meat is very tender.
- Serve hot. Garnish with a little chopped fresh parsley, optional.
- If you can’t find parsley root, you can substitute with parsnips.
- You can use English cut short ribs if needed. Boneless chuck roast or beef stew meat can also be substituted, but the bones in the short ribs add extra flavor.
- Substitute vegetable soup mix for pearled barley.
- How to store: Store leftover beef barley vegetable soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- How to freeze: Freeze soup in a freezer safe container for up to 6 months.
- How to reheat: This soup reheats well in the microwave, or in a pot over medium heat. Add a splash of water or beef stock if necessary.