Heart Smart Bean and Barley Vegetable Soup

You know that expression “it’s a heart attack on a plate”?  Maybe it’s not a real expression, but I always say it to describe something that is full of fat other delicious things that will clog your arteries and kill you sooner rather than later.   Well this soup recipe that I’m sharing today is kind of the complete opposite.  It’s like “a heart protector in a bowl”.

I have three favorite cholesterol lowering foods – oats, beans and barley.  Sure, there are other good things to eat for heart health, but that trio contains some of the highest sources of soluble fiber, which is the kind that lowers your cholesterol.  Soluble fiber is also great for reducing your appetite because it fills you up for longer, and slows down your digestion a bit, and it helps keep your blood sugar more stable.

This soup features both beans and barley along with lots of vegetables in it.  So it’s almost like a heart protector in every bite.  It’s also a handy thing to have on hand for the polar vortex, which seems to be hitting most of the country every other week this winter.  Warms you up from head to toe and fills you up for hours.

Bean and Barley Vegetable Soup|Craving Something Healthy

It's also an easy way to get SIX different vegetables into you all at once 🙂


Bean and Barley Vegetable Soup|Craving Something Healthy

Bean and Barley Vegetable Soup

A heart-healthy and hearty soup
4.31 from 13 votes
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 303kcal


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 large parsnips peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces
  • 3 large carrots peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 8 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 medium russet potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • cup barley uncooked
  • 3 cups baby kale or spinach, stems trimmed and chopped
  • 1 14.5 oz small white beans navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-10 ounce package frozen peas
  • salt and pepper


  • Heat oil in a large stockpot on high heat and add onion, parsnips, and carrots, and cook until lightly browned and softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.
  • Add broth, and then potatoes, uncooked barley, and herbs and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for about 50 minutes, or until barley is tender.
  • Remove and discard bay leaf and rosemary stems.
  • With an immersion blender, pulse soup about 10 times, or until desired consistency is achieved.
  • Alternatively, remove about 2 cups of the solids and liquid and puree them in a blender. Add pureed mixture back into the pot.
  • Add drained beans, kale and peas, and simmer for another 10 minutes, or until peas are tender.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.


Adapted from Cook's Country
Refrigerate leftover soup in a covered container for up to 4 days or freeze for 3 months.


Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 44mg | Potassium: 1021mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 6608IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 163mg | Iron: 4mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag me @CravingSomethingHealthy!

Do you eat lots of soup in the winter?  It's my favorite!

Eat well!


  1. I am so happy I found this recipe so appreciate it I was wondering if I am using dry uncooked beans do I cook them separate before adding? My beans usually take hours because I slow cook in crockpot I have to lower my cholesterol and been having a few heart minor issues and trying to loose weight so this soup should help if you have anymore healthy recipes please send to me I need a lot of help and encouragement right now

    1. Hi Gianna! Yes, if you're using dry beans I would cook them first. They'll need much longer than the soup so it's best to cook them ahead of time. Beans and barley are two of my favorite cholesterol-lowering foods so I hope it helps!

  2. This is such a hardy soup that I make it on a Sunday and portion it out as my lunch the whole week. It is so yummy and healthy as a winter time lunch. Thank you for this wonderful recipe.

    1. Oh Tania, I'm so glad you like it! It's one of my favorites and such a delicious way to get lots of veggies in every bite!

  3. Anne, I love barley soup and I've never tried it with beans. You've given me some homework. It's been so warm this winter in Arizona that I haven't made as many hearty meals as other years, but I'll do this! I love the use of kale in it.

    1. Hope you like it! I'm jealous that you live in AZ. We're thinking about moving there, although I would miss soup! - we'll have to talk one of these days 🙂

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