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Hearty Chicken and Vegetable Barley Soup: Warmth in a Bowl

There’s nothing quite as comforting as a bowlful of homemade chicken soup. It’s like a warm hug, making you feel better with every spoonful. This Chicken and Vegetable Barley Soup is packed with protein and vegetables, making it nutrient-rich and incredibly flavourful. Whether you’re feeling under the weather or simply craving a hearty meal, this soup is your go-to remedy for warmth and nourishment.

The combination of tender chicken, hearty barley, and a medley of fresh vegetables creates a symphony of flavours and textures that will satisfy your taste buds and nourish your body. The addition of turmeric and coriander adds a delightful warmth and depth, while a squeeze of fresh lemon juice provides a tangy finish that brightens up the dish.

This recipe is not only delicious but also straightforward to prepare, making it ideal for both weeknight dinners and leisurely weekend cooking sessions. Whether you’re feeding a family of six to eight or meal-prepping for the week ahead, this soup offers both convenience and nourishment. Trust me, once you’ve had a taste of this homemade chicken and vegetable barley soup, you’ll be coming back for seconds.


  • High in fibre, which can help to slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
  • Low glycemic index, which means that it releases sugar slowly into the bloodstream.
  • Rich in chromium, which helps the body to use insulin more effectively.


  • Good source of iodine, which is essential for the production of thyroid hormones.
  • Contains anti-inflammatory compounds.
  • May help to improve thyroid function in people with thyroid disease.

Nutritional Information per serving:

  • Calories: 297 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 44.1 g
  • Proteins: 21.6 g
  • Fats: 8.1 g
  • Fibres: 7.9 g

Basic Ingredients for Chicken and Vegetable Barley Soup


Chicken Breast: Chicken breast is lean, high in protein, and provides a hearty base for the soup. Browning the chicken at the beginning enhances its flavour, while shredding it later ensures every bite has a piece of tender meat.

Vegetable Oil: Vegetable oil is used to brown the chicken and sauté the vegetables. It provides a neutral base that allows the flavours of the other ingredients to shine.

Bay Leaf: A bay leaf adds a subtle depth of flavour to the soup, giving it a slightly herbal and aromatic note.

Turmeric Powder: Turmeric adds a beautiful golden hue to the soup and brings anti-inflammatory properties and a warm, earthy flavour.

Coriander Powder: Coriander powder adds a hint of citrusy sweetness, enhancing the soup’s overall flavour profile.

Minced Ginger and Garlic: Ginger and garlic provide a fragrant and zesty base, contributing to the soup’s depth of flavour and offering numerous health benefits.

Onions, Celery, Carrots, Potatoes, and Courgettes: These vegetables create a classic mirepoix, which forms the backbone of many soups. They add sweetness, earthiness, and bulk, making the soup hearty and nutritious.

Pearl Barley: Pearl barley adds a chewy texture and nutty flavour. It’s also a good source of fibre, making the soup more filling.

Chicken Stock: Chicken stock is the liquid base that ties everything together. It infuses the soup with a rich, savoury flavour.

Tomato Paste: Tomato paste adds umami and a slight tanginess, balancing the vegetables’ sweetness and the chicken’s richness.

Fresh Parsley: Parsley adds a burst of freshness and colour, brightening up the soup right before serving.

Slices of Lemon: Lemon slices are served with the soup to add a tangy finish, enhancing and balancing the overall flavour.

Alternative Ingredients

Protein: Substitute chicken breast with turkey breast, tofu, or chickpeas for a vegetarian version.

Vegetable Oil: Use olive oil or coconut oil for different flavour profiles.

Spices: Experiment with cumin, paprika, or curry powder for a different twist.

Vegetables: Include bell peppers, sweet potatoes, or spinach for added variety.

Grains: Replace barley with quinoa, rice, or pasta for different textures and flavours.

Stock: Use vegetable stock for a vegetarian version or beef stock for a richer taste.

Preparation Tips for Chicken and Vegetable Barley Soup

  • Soaking Barley: Soak the pearl barley for 30 minutes to reduce cooking time and ensure even cooking.
  • Browning Chicken: Brown the chicken on high heat to develop a deeper flavour.
  • Sautéing Vegetables: Sauté the vegetables until slightly tender before adding liquids to enhance their flavours.
  • Shredding Chicken: Let the chicken cool slightly before shredding to make it easier and avoid burning your fingers.

Serving Tips for Chicken and Vegetable Barley Soup

  • Garnishing: Garnish with fresh parsley and a slice of lemon for a fresh and vibrant finish.
  • Accompaniments: Serve with crusty bread or a side salad for a complete meal.
  • Temperature: Serve the soup hot to enjoy its comforting qualities fully.

Storage Tips

Refrigeration: Store the soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Freezing: Freeze the soup in portion-sized containers for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Reheating: Reheat the soup on the stove over medium heat, adding a splash of water or stock if it has thickened too much. Stir occasionally to ensure even heating.

Chicken and Vegetable Barley Soup

Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 28 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours


  • 250 g chicken breast
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper powder
  • 3 tsp garlic, minced
  • 4 small onions, cubed
  • 4 celery stalks with leaf, cubed
  • 3 medium carrots, cubed
  • 2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 4 medium courgettes, cubed
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 10 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • slices of lemon


  • Soak the pearl barley for 30 minutes. In a medium-sized pot (preferably a cast iron pot), heat the vegetable oil, whole chicken breast and season with turmeric powder, coriander powder, 1 tsp of salt and ½ tsp of black pepper powder; brown the chicken on high heat.
  • Add the ginger, garlic, onions, bay leaf, celery, carrots, potatoes and courgettes. Sauté the ingredients together on medium heat for a couple of minutes, and add the pearl barley, chicken stock and tomato paste. On high heat, bring the liquid to a boil, and then lower heat to medium–low and leave to simmer for about 45–60 minutes. Add more chicken stock or water if needed.
  • Once the vegetables and chicken have cooked, remove the chicken breast out of the soup and shred. Return the shredded chicken back into the pot. Season the soup with salt and pepper and add the parsley. Leave to simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Serve in a bowl with a slice of lemon for that added tangy flavour.

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