Shiitake and Barley Soup with Root Veggies

Shop Ingredients
Serves 4-6


8-10 dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 C pearled barley *soaked overnight
3 tsp tamari
a 5cm piece of kombu (I used wakame in it’s absence)
1.75-2L vegetable stock or water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
2-3 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves only
2 carrots, unpeeled and finely diced
1/2 medium sweet potato, peeled and finely diced
1 swede, peeled and finely diced
1 medium parsnip, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
1-2 tsp mirin (optional)
big handful of parsley, chopped, to serve


A simple, clean soup for winter, taken from Jude Blereau’s Wholefood For The Family.  This broth of shiitake mushroom and barley is a great base for sweet root vegetables – a very satisfying and hearty soup without being too heavy or rich.  As it’s not blended, it does require some fine dicing of the veggies – so if there are kids or someone in the house who particularly loves a good dicing task then this soup is for them.  The chopping is really the only thing to do.  Make a generous amount to have extra portions for the freezer.

Vegan and dairy free.

Shiitake and Barley Soup with Root Veggies

Soak barley (overnight if you can), in 3 cups of water and a spoonful of yoghurt, whey or a squeeze of lemon.

Break up the dried shiitake into a big soup pot, adding the drained barley, tamari, dried thyme, seaweed and 1.75L of stock or water.  Gently simmer, partly covered, for about 20 mins.

Meanwhile, get dicing! In a fry pan and sauté the onions, garlic and fresh thyme.  Add a good pinch of salt and pepper to the pan and stir on a low heat until the onions just start to colour.

Add the onions to the pot, as well as all your beautifully diced veggies and grated ginger.  Simmer gently for 45min – 1 hour with the pot partly covered.  Keep your eye on the liquid and add more water or stock if necessary.  Check the seasoning, it may need more salt or tamari, and Jude says to consider adding a little mirin for flavour if you haven’t used parsnips.  Serve with LOTS of parsley.

This’ll get even better the next day, and it freezes well for an easy, restorative lunch.


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