Are you looking for an easy slow cooker hearty winter meal? This flavorful vegetable beef barley soup is chock full of vegetables in a delightfully seasoned broth that will warm you to the bones. The soup cooks for hours so you can get on with your day, and makes the kitchen smell amazing, to boot.
Pearl barley is one of my favorite grains. I love the way it plumps up while it cooks. It reminds me of the texture of risotto and is a wonderful addition to this amazing soup.
The soup has a fairly long first stage cooking time but you’ll need to be back a couple of hours before meal time to add the barley and frozen veggies. Believe me, it’s worth that extra step to get the flavor that this gives the soup.
How do your slow cooker meals end up? If you are not satisfied with your results, you may be making one of these crock pot mistakes.
Making this Vegetable Beef Barley Soup
I love that the ingredients for this soup are so readily available. It’s forgiving too. Whatever you might have fresh in your fridge will probably work, but I like my blend of onions, carrots, celery and potatoes best. Be sure to cut your vegetables into fairly even pieces for best cooking.
This soup comes together in a few stages. The flavor is developed by the seasoning for the beef and the delicious blend of veggies that adds warmth and a healthy finish to the meal. Pearl barley has a nice richness that is so filling and flavorful.
Start by combining your seasoning mix in a zip lock baggie and coating the beef cubes. I used seasoned salt, garlic powder and onion powder for my seasoning mix
Then brown the meat in oil and add to the crock pot. You could omit this step, but browning the meat first adds a lovely caramelized flavor that gives the soup a richness that won’t come from plain slow cooked meat.
Pour the browned beef into the slow cooker and then add the fresh vegetables and beef stock. Let the whole thing cook for 5-6 hours until the beef and veggies are almost tender.
It’s time to stir in the frozen veggies, diced tomatoes and tomato juice along with the seasonings and pearled barley. If the soup is too thick, pour in some extra stock to thin it out a little. Then let the whole thing cook again, covered for another few hours. ( Time to relax with hubby with a glass of wine!)
While I was waiting for the barley to cook, I made a loaf of crusty bread to go with the meal. I can’t wait to use it to dip into the soup!
Time to taste this slow cooker hearty winter meal.
The aroma that comes out of the crock pot when you open it up to serve the soup is amazing. There are so many flavors that make up this great smell and they all work really well together.
Warm bowls of hearty soup, served with crusty bread are at the top of my list of comfort foods in the winter. Eating it gives me a good, old fashioned feeling that warms me to the bones when the weather is so chilly outside.
The soup is rich and chunky with fork tender pieces of tasty beef. And the vegetables and barley swimming in the tasty broth give the soup a wonderful flavor and texture. Use the crusty bread to soak up some of those delicious juices!
This delicious vegetable beef barley soup features seasoned beef and a slew of healthy vegetables all cooked in the slow cooker for a hearty winter meal that rivals mom’s best. Serve it with the crusty home made bread and dinner is done!
My husband and I are both dieting and we love how filling this soup is but still relatively light on calories. It makes 6 hearty servings with 318 calories each. The soup is high in fiber and protein and relatively low in fat and sugar.
Trust me, you’ll want seconds of this hearty winter meal soup, so make a big batch!
- 1 tsp seasoned salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 pound of stew beef, cut into cubes
- 1½ tbsp olive oil
- 3½ cups of vegetable stock, divided
- 2 medium potatoes, pealed and diced
- ¾ cup of sliced fresh carrots
- ¾ cup of diced celery
- ½ cup of onion, chopped
- ¾ cup of frozen corn kernels, thawed
- ¾ cup of frozen peas, thawed
- ¾ cup of tomato juice
- 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes with juice
- ½ cup of pearled barley
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
- Place the seasoned salt, onion powder and garlic powder in a zip lock bag. Add the beef cubes and toss to coat well.
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown the beef in olive oil until it is slightly browned.
- Transfer the beef to a 6 quart slow cooker. Add 2½ cups of the vegetable stock, potatoes, carrots, celery and onion. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours, until the meat and vegetables are almost tender.
- Add the fresh thyme, corn, tomatoes, peas, tomato juice, barley and salt and pepper. Stir in the other cup of broth if the soup is too thick. I used all 3½ cups in my recipe.
- Cover and cook on low for 3 more hours or until the barley is tender.
- Sprinkle with fresh thyme and serve with warm crusty bread for a really flavorful dinner.
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