Classic vegetable barley soup gets a hearty update with beans and spices inspired by the flavor of Mexico. Mexican Bean and Barley soup is tasty, healthy, and perfect for an easy meal. Instant Pot or stovetop friendly!
I was inspired to make Vegetable Barley soup thanks to a Costco run. (Does anyone else make Costco trips a family occasion, purely so everyone can have fun trying samples?) One of the samples was for their "Organic Chopped Vegetable and Barley Soup." One of my daughters, (the one who hates all food), tried it and said she loved it. I almost threw 3 containers of it in the cart. "Yay! Something healthy she likes!" But then decided I could probably make it at home, which would be less expensive and the soup would have less sodium in it.
That week we made tried "Instant Pot Vegetable Soup with Barley" It was delicious and everyone loved it. The problem, however, was that everyone was really hungry like an hour and a half after dinner. All the veggies were really filling, but it needed more protein to keep us feeling full. Thus, Mexican Bean and Barley soup was born.
I feel like any kind of bean would have been a good addition to this soup, but because Mexican food is my favorite, I decided to add Black Beans. I also updated the seasonings from the Italian family (bay leaves and parsley) to the Mexican family (cumin, chili powder, and garlic). It's healthy, and delicious, and will keep you full for hours.
In addition to beans and barley, you'll find a lot of veggies in this soup, including onions, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, and corn.
This soup is full of nutrition! Barley is a whole grain that provides a lot of fiber and nutrients like manganese and the B vitamins. Unfortunately, it does contain gluten, so this soup is not gluten-free.
Black beans provide a strong punch of plant-based protein. And we all know vegetables are full of necessary vitamins and minerals.
You can easily substitute or add whatever veggies you have on hand for this recipe.
Pinto or kidney beans are a great substitute for black beans.
If you don't have/like barley, you can use pretty much any other whole grain, like farro or wheat berries, you'll just have to adjust the cooking time because they have longer cook times than barley does.
Mexican Bean and Barley Soup should be stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can reheat it on the stove or in the microwave.
This soup can also easily be frozen. Before sticking it in the freezer, you'll want it to cool down completely to prevent freezer burn. If stored in a freezer-friendly container, it will last up to 6 months.
For best results, the soup should be defrosted slowly. I recommend thawing it in the fridge for 24 hours and then reheating it on the stove.
- This recipe can be made in the Instant Pot or on the stove. I prefer the Instant Pot because it blends the flavors together and takes a little less time. I also just really like being able to turn on the Instant Pot and walk away. It will still be great if made on the stove though!
- If you don't feel like mincing fresh garlic (I'm too lazy at least half the time), just substitute in 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
- This recipe makes a lot and freezes up great! We usually get 2 meals for our family of 5 out of this recipe, plus a couple of extra bowls for lunch for some of us.
- Sprinkle a little cheddar cheese on top if you want to make it even more delicious!
Never cooked with barley before? Check out "A Complete Guide to Cooking with Barley" to learn everything you need to know about why you should be eating more of this tasty whole grain.
Can't find Barley at the store? Buy it online!
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Mexican Bean and Barley Soup
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 cup carrots, sliced
- 1 cup zuchinni, sliced
- 1 cup yellow squash, sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 2 cans black beans 15 oz can
- 1 cup dry pearl barley
- 6 cups broth chicken or vegetable if vegetarian
- 5 cloves garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder can always add more if you want it spicier
- 2 teaspoon oregano
- cheddar cheese sprinkle on top if desired
- salt and pepper as desired
- Set the Instant Pot to "saute" and add olive oil to pot. Saute the carrots, onions, zucchini and squash until slightly tender, just about 5 mins.
- Add in all the other ingredients and give it a stir. Cancel the saute setting and seal the Instant Pot lid. Set to "pressure cook" and cook on high for 10 minutes.
- Manually release the steam and serve. Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper and a little cheddar cheese if desired. Enjoy!