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Vegetarian Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe

by Jeanette on October 23, 2010 · 4 Comments
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Vegetarian Mushroom Barley Soup

Today, I made a big pot of Vegetarian Mushroom Barley Soup for some friends with cancer. I tried to include a lot of different cancer-fighting ingredients as the American Institute for Cancer Research stresses the importance of eating a variety of plant foods to ensure the most protection against cancer development. The result was a nutrient rich soup with lots of flavor.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research:

  • Mushrooms contain phytochemicals that may stimulate the immune system or block activity that could promote breast cancer in post-menopausal women. Mushrooms are also a good source of the antioxidant mineral selenium, which may offer some protection from prostate cancer.
  • Whole Grains, such as barley, contain high levels of antioxidants (found in the outer layer of whole grains) that fight damage to cells that may lead to cancer. Whole grains are also high in dietary fiber, which may lower colon cancer risk.
  • Beans contain various phytochemicals that, in laboratory studies, have shown the ability to inhibit the reproduction of cancer cells, help prevent tumors from destroying nearby cells, and slow the growth of tumors; beans are also rich in dietary fiber.
  • Carrots contain the antioxidant beta-carotene, which is essential for proper immune function.
  • Parsnips are a good source of folate, which helps to protect DNA and lower cancer risk.
  • Onions and Garlic contains compounds which, laboratory studies show, enhance the elimination of carcinogens before they do any damage, and slow the growth and stimulate the self-destruction of cancer cells that form.
  • Dark Green Leafy Vegetables, such as collard greens, are an excellent source of carotenoids, fiber, and folate. Laboratory research has found that carotenoids in dark green leafy vegetables can inhibit the growth of certain breast cancer cells, skin cancer cells, lung cancer and stomach cancer.
  • Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant which, in the laboratory, has stopped the proliferation of several other cancer cell types, including breast, lung and endometrial.

This recipe for Vegetarian Mushroom Barley Soup is full of healthy vegetables and grains, making it not only a potent cancer-fighting soup, but an all around healthy soup. To add to its nutrient rich profile, I used Rebecca Katz’s Magic Mineral Broth as the soup base. I also used all organic vegetables to keep the soup as “clean” as possible.

Vegetarian Mushroom Barley Soup

Choose any combination of beans you wish. The mix I used included borlotti beans, red lentils, chickpeas, cannellini beans, red azuki beans, green peas, red beans, and broad beans.

1 cup barley, soaked in water overnight
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 leek, thoroughly washed, white and tender green parts chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 parsnips, finely chopped
10 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped or 2 teaspoons dried
1 10-ounce pack mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
4 cups cooked beans
8 cups vegetable stock (I used Magic Mineral Broth)
1 teaspoon salt
1 bunch collard greens, tender leaves only, finely sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large stockpot, and add onion, leek, garlic, carrots, parsnips and sage. Cook over medium heat until vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir often to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pot. Add mushrooms and cook another 3-4 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir into vegetables; cook 2-3 minutes to develop flavor.

Rinse and drain soaked barley; add to pot along with tomatoes, beans, stock, and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, and cook, covered, for 30-40 minutes, until barley is tender.

Stir in collard greens, and cook until just tender, 6-8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Use a variety of beans if you like

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  1. That was so thoughtful of you to make your friend some soup. It looks and sounds delicious!


  2. Thanks, my passion is cooking for people with cancer, so I hope to come up with more healthy cancer-fighting recipes.

  3. Hi Jennette,

    How are you? This looks so yummy! I'm so happy I found you on StumbleUpon. :)

    Can't wait to give this a try!

    Take care,


  4. Hi Evelyn,
    Love your healthy living blog. I look forward to following you.

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