Hearty Winter Vegetable Soup, brimming with seasonal root vegetables, makes a filling vegan meal for the cooler weather. The pearl barley adds a creaminess & richness to the broth without the use of dairy.

I’ve never been very fond of vegetable soup, usually finding it thin and insipid. However, add a little barley to the soup pot, and it is a completely different story. Barley thickens a simmering broth, turning it creamy and luscious; perfect for winter. Toss in lots of finely chopped winter vegetables, and you have this Hearty Winter Vegetable Soup.

I have a bad habit of using the same small range of winter vegetables at every meal. This soup takes me outside that comfort zone, and uses some of the vegetables I rarely cook with, like turnips, swedes and parsnips. By chopping the vegetables into small cubes, about the same size as the swollen barley grains, I can pass them by The Princess (who is always suspicious of something new) with minimal moaning.

It is at this point I must issue a warning.  When buying your vegetables, do not be swayed by the purple carrots.  The first time I made this soup, I had visions of finely chopped purple carrot providing flecks of colour and interest in the soup pot.  In reality, the deep purple colour of the heirloom carrot seeped into the broth, turning everything a weird purple/grey colour.  The carrot itself turned a pale orange colour, and the whole dish looked extremely unappetising.  Thankfully it tasted good enough to be repeated.  This time with plain old orange carrots.


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1 carrot peeled and finely diced
  • 2 sticks celery finely diced
  • 1 swede peeled and finely diced
  • 1 turnip peeled and finely diced
  • 1 parsnip peeled and finely diced
  • 1 Tablespoon rosemary finely chopped
  • 10 sage leaves finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 205 g (1 cup) pearled barley soaked overnight and drained
  • 1 1/2 Litres (6 cups) vegetable stock
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley.


  1. Place a large pot on a medium heat.
  2. Add the olive oil and onion.
  3. Saute the onion for about 5 minutes, or until it has softened and started to brown.
  4. Add the remainder of the vegetables, and saute for a further 5 minute or until the vegetables have softened slightly.
  5. Stir in the rosemary, sage, bay leaves and barley.
  6. Add the vegetable stock, season with salt & pepper, and bring to the boil.

You can find complete recipes of this HEARTY WINTER VEGETABLE SOUP in thecookspyjamas.com

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