Chipotle Barley Soup


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Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 204 per serving
Percent from Fat: 29%
Cusine: American, Mexican
Course: Soups - Side, Soups - Meal
Food as MedicineSM Ingredient: Barley

Food as MedicineSM Tip

Barley is a whole grain rich in the soluble fiber called beta-glucan, which can help lower cholesterol. And it may be effective in reducing glucose and insulin responses, which is good news for people with type 2 diabetes. Barley's fiber slows down how fast you absorb carbs.

Culinary Taste Tip

Dried mushrooms are concentrated in deep, dark flavor, and the shiitake mushroom is one of the few varieties that can be cooked for a long time without losing its earthy, rich, smoky taste.

Culinary Technique Tip

Barley comes in a quick-cooking form that you can find in most grocery stores. You can add it by the handful to soups to thicken them, or to simmering oatmeal for a richer, thicker texture.


2 teaspoons olive oil
½ cup each: chopped yellow onion and thinly sliced carrots
2 (3½ oz.) packages shiitake mushrooms, tough part of stems discarded, caps sliced
1 (14½ oz.) can fat free beef broth
½ cup quick cooking barley
1 (14-½ oz.) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
2 to 3 teaspoons chopped or pureed chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, as desired
½ cup (2 oz.) crumbled feta cheese


Heat oil in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrots. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, stir and continue cooking 2 minutes. Add broth and barley, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered until barley and vegetables are tender, about 12 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and chipotle chilies. Cover and simmer 5 minutes longer. Ladle into shallow bowls and top with cheese.


Crimini mushrooms may replace the shiitakes, packaged julienne (matchstick) carrots may replace the sliced carrots, shallots may replace the onion and diced smoked Gouda may replace the feta cheese.

Nutritional Analysis

Total fat (g): 7; Fat calories (kc): 61; Cholesterol (mg): 17; Trans fatty acids (g): 0; Saturated fat (g): 3; Polyunsaturated fat (g): .5; Monounsaturated fat (g): 3; Fiber (g): 5; Carbohydrates (g): 31; Sugar (g): 8; Protein (g): 7; Sodium (mg): 653; Calcium (mg) 122

Comments on Chipotle Barley Soup

From: DiKoob

I'm allergic to mushrooms. What's a good substitution for them?

From: banana55

I only have hulled barley, not the pearled kind. Will they work in all the barley recipes on this site, not just this one?

From: RickyLynn

Thank you, Dr. John. This recipe sounds wonderful - I'm going to make a large batch tomorrow.

To Banana55: The good Dr. may have a better answer for you than I, but, I think your hulled barley would be great in this recipe. Check your cooking directions, because you may have to add more broth (for absorbancy) and you may have to cook your soup for a little longer than you would with the instant barley.

Please let us know how it turns out . . . I might just get a supply of hulled barley myself and try it out.

From: belleqdy

Hi Dr. John,
Is it not the canned beef broth is high in sodium and therefore bad for the heart too?

From: 12Yvette

Belleqdy, Kitchen Basics is a brand of broths and stocks that are low sodium and have the American Heart Association "seal of approval". It's what I use if I don't have time to make my own.

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