This warming soup is a perfect marriage of two classics: beet borscht and mushroom barley soup. Even though beets are extremely healthy, there’s quite a lot of sugar in these pretty pink vegetables. Their sweetness works perfectly in this soup when mixed with fresh oregano and mushrooms. Pearled barley adds a satisfying layer and elevates the soup from starter to whole meal. Fresh oregano adds color and balances the earthiness of the mushrooms and beets. If you don’t have fresh oregano, dried oregano will do just fine. Fresh dill will make the soup pleasantly fresh tasting and is a nice substitute if you can’t find oregano.
Barley is a brilliant grain to add to soups because its texture remains firm even after days in the fridge. So make a giant pot of this soup and have it for lunch all week. Serve with a nice thick piece of crusty bread.
Mushroom Barley Soup with Cubed Beets
2 whole beets
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, roughly chopped
10 small mushrooms such as baby portabellas
4 cups mushroom broth or beef broth
¾ cups pearled barley
2 red onions
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
From the Organic Authority Files
In a small pot bring the barley and two cups of water to a boil. Then simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
Peel and chop the beets into ¼ inch slices, then spears and finally small cubes and set aside. Roughly chop the mushrooms and set aside.
Roughly chop the onions, shallot and garlic cloves. In a large pot with a lid heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onions, shallots and garlic for 5 minutes, then add the cubed beets and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the broth, salt and oregano and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 35 minutes, add the cooked barley and cook for a final 10 minutes. Add freshly ground black pepper just before serving.
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Photos by Ally-Jane