This simple soup recipe is PACKED with flavor and veggies, and it’s made completely in the crockpot! Your whole family will love this hearty and healthy barley vegetable soup recipe.

Making a hearty vegetable soup on a cold day is the best! There is honestly nothing better than a hot bowl of soup to warm the soul. This vegetarian soup has a rich flavor and could not be easier to make! In this recipe, I give this veggie barley soup plenty of time in the slow cooker.

a close-up photo of vegetable barley soup in a bowl

The result? A super flavorful broth packed with perfectly tender veggies, and it’s a naturally gluten-free option! 

Adding barley to your homemade vegetable barley soup makes it a complete meal!

Barley is a cereal grain that is super filling and rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. It has a nice, nutty flavor and chewy texture. You will add your barley right at the end of the cook time! 

a photo of a white slow cooker filled with barley vegetable soup

There are a ton of ways to modify this beautiful, hearty soup.

You can make this vegetarian barley soup in the Instant Pot, on the Stovetop, or make substitutions or additions. I have several suggestions below! 

a photo of a bowl of begetable soup

Cooking Variations:

Want to enjoy this soup quicker? Make it on the stove top or in your Instant Pot!

On the Stove Top: To a large pot, add one teaspoon of olive oil and heat on medium-high heat. Sauté the onion and red pepper for 2-3 minutes to soften. Then, add all of the ingredients to the soup pot except the barley and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until all of the vegetables are softened. Add the barley, and serve. 

Instant Pot Vegetable Barley Soup: In sauté mode, sauté the onion and red pepper. Add the remainder of the ingredients except the barley and set to pressure cook for 2 minutes. Allow to natural release, it will take 15-20 minutes. 

Recipe Substitutions:

This easy recipe for this Old Fashioned Vegetable Barley Soup recipe is super versatile, and there are many substitutions you can consider!  

  • Substitute canned vegetables for any of the fresh vegetables, but make sure to drain them first
  • Substitute any other color of bell pepper for the red bell peppers 
  • Substitute beef stock, beef broth, chicken stock or chicken broth for the vegetable stock
  • Substitute cooked brown rice or white rice for the pearl barley
a close up of vegetable barley soup in a black bowl

Recipe Additions:

There are so many great additions for this delicious soup recipe. Consider adding:

  • Add cooked ground beef, ground turkey or shredded chicken before serving
  • Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of green peas
  • Add cubed sweet potato or dry beans. 
  • If you’d like to add onions, dice 3/4 of a yellow onion and sauté it in olive oil for 2-3 minutes before adding it to the crockpot. Adding raw onions will totally overpower the flavor! 

Before serving, consider adding spinach, mushrooms, white beans, diced zucchini or frozen cheese tortellini.

an overhead photo of a bowl of vegetable soup with slices of bread

Serving Suggestions:

Serve this hearty vegetable barley soup with with crusty bread and a crisp green salad! It’s also wonderful with my Bisquick Cheddar Biscuits.

A photo of a bowl of barley vegetable soup

Storing Leftovers:

Store leftover soup in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. This flavorful soup freezes beautifully! Allow it to cool completely before freezing it in freezer-safe containers for up to 3 months.

The soup will naturally thicken when you store it overnight. You can add extra broth or water to loosen it back up when reheating! 

a close-up photo of vegetable barley soup in a bowl

Easy Slow Cooker Vegetable Barley Soup

Yield: Serves 6-8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes

This simple soup recipe is PACKED with flavor and veggies, and it's made completely in the crockpot! Your whole family will love this hearty and healthy barley vegetable soup recipe.


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup frozen green beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups vegetable broth


  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon vegetable
  • 1 ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 2 bay leaves

Add at the end of cook time:

  • ¾ cup pearled barley, cooked

For garnish:

  • fresh parsley


  1. In a large non-stick skillet, add olive oil and heat over medium high heat. 
  2. Quickly sauté the red bell pepper, onion, carrots and celery until they soften, about 2-3 minutes. 
  3. Add garlic and tomato paste. Stir quickly to coat the vegetables. 
  4. Transfer the sauteed vegetables to your crockpot, then add all of the remaining ingredients except for the barley. 
  5. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 7-8 hours until the carrots are tender.
  6. Before serving, discard the bay lead, and add in the cooked barley. Stir. 
  7. Serve warm.

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