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Healthy Eating, Mains, Soups, Vegetarian

Mushroom, barley and Swiss chard soup

Mushroom, barley and Swiss chard soup
Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

You think you know vegetable soup? Shakespeare's Cleopatra with her "infinite variety" had nothing on vegetable soup. It can be thick and chunky, light and delicate, rich and smoky or bright and tangy. Vegetable soup can be a meal in ... Read more

Total time: 2 hours, 45 minutes | Serves 6 to 8

Mushroom stock

  • 1 pound fresh cremini mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 ounces dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup sliced leek (white part only)
  • 2 cloves garlic, cut in half
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 4 peppercorns

Step 1Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Trim the stem ends and quarter the mushrooms.

Step 2Put the mushrooms in a tall 8-quart stockpot. Add the dried shiitakes, leek, garlic, thyme and peppercorns. Add 3 quarts (12 cups) cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 35 minutes.

Step 3Remove the pot from the heat and let stand to cool 5 minutes. Strain through a mesh strainer, gently pressing the vegetables with a spoon to extract juices. Discard the vegetables. You should have 11 cups of broth; add water until the broth measures 11 cups, if needed.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup finely diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2/3 cup pearl barley
  • 11 cups mushroom stock
  • 1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems trimmed, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 bunches Swiss chard, stemmed and coarsely chopped (about 8 cups)
  • 2 turnips (about 3/4 pound), peeled and cut into half-inch dice (about 3 cups)

Step 1Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a tall 8-quart stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and saute until the vegetables are tender but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.

Step 2Stir in the barley and stock. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Step 3Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium nonstick skillet until hot. Add the mushrooms and saute until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Add the salt, Swiss chard, turnips and sauteed mushrooms to the stockpot. Bring the soup to a simmer, cover and cook 30 minutes.


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