This Southwest Beef Bean and Barley Soup is easy, economical, and, best of all, utterly delicious! Here’s a soup recipe you’ll want to keep around for those chilly days.
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We have had this Beef Bean and Barley Soup three times in the last two weeks. The first time I made it, Brian told me he could eat it every day – he liked it that much! It’s definitely becoming a staple at my house.
Of course, it took a while to really perfect this recipe. The first time I made beef with barley soup, I didn’t add the beef or tomatoes. It felt like something was missing. Yes, I thought maybe the soup would still work well without meat! I guess it was more of a barley soup. And it still tasted wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but it definitely needed more.
I re-added the beef the second time, but it still felt like it needed something else. So the third time, I added tomatoes, too. Absolutely delish. And perfection.
This twist on the classic soup is a total winner with my family, and I’m sure it will be with yours, too! Let me share that perfected recipe with you today!
Recipe for Beef Barley Soup: Ingredients & Equipment
For this Southwest Beef Bean & Barley Soup recipe, you’ll need …
- olive oil, water, beef broth – the base of your soup. You can use homemade stock or store-bought. Whichever is easier for you!
- pearl barley – if you’ve ever wondered, barley is a type of grain that’s high in fiber. It looks a little like rice and has a similar texture, so it’s a great filler in soups. On top of that, it has a beautiful, subtly nutty flavor that works wonderfully in this recipe. Yum!
- beef stew meat – you’ll want the lovely texture of melt-in-your-mouth beef for this one.
- onion, celery, carrots, garlic, tomatoes – a good Beef Barley Soup is chock full of veggies, of course.
- black beans, great northern beans, kidney beans – while it isn’t fully necessary, I like using all three of these beans to really add texture and flavor to the soup. You can use all of one kind or switch up the combination to suit your family’s tastes.
- chili powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, salt – your spices. If you’ve made any of my other hearty soups, you’re probably familiar with many of these. They’re my go-to!
- For this recipe, you’ll only need a Dutch oven or soup pot to make your soup. So simple!
You could easily make this vegetarian by leaving out the beef and switching to veggie broth. Also, seasoned gluten-free eaters know this well, but for those new to gluten-free eating, remember that barley is a lesser-known grain containing gluten. As always, know your ingredients well!
Beef Barley Soup Recipe: FAQs
About 8 bowls, give or take. Perfect for everyone in your family to have seconds on a cold afternoon.
This recipe requires 20 minutes of prep time and requires a little under 3 hours to cook. I will admit, it isn’t a fast recipe. However, most of that time isn’t “active” – you’ll only have to stir the soup every so often. So, it’s still very easy to make!
Absolutely. I’ve seen people use steak, roast beef, or leftover beef from the previous night’s dinner. It always feels better when you don’t have to waste food, right? Ground beef or ground turkey is great, too!
Yes. It’ll last for 3 months in the freezer as long as you use an airtight container.
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- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 to 1-1/2 pounds beef stew meat, chopped into small pieces
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 9 cups water
- 4 cups (one 32 oz. carton) reduced-sodium beef broth
- 1/2 cup pearl barley
- 1/3 cup dried black beans
- 1/3 cup dried great northern beans
- 1/3 cup dried kidney beans
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 can (14.5 oz.) petite-diced tomatoes
- sour cream and green onions, for serving (optional)
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat.
- Add the beef and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic.
- Cook, occasionally stirring, for about 4-5 minutes.
- Add the water, broth, barley, all of the beans, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Bring just to a lively simmer over high heat, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer.
- Cook, occasionally stirring, for about 2 hours. Add more water as necessary or if desired.
- Add the salt and tomatoes. Continue to cook an additional 30-45 minutes or until the beans are tender.
- To serve, top individual bowls with sour cream and green onions, if desired.
- Got leftovers? You can use steak, roast beef, or leftover beef from the previous night’s dinner in place of the stew meat. Ground beef or ground turkey is great, too!
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Maple Wooden Set Spoon, Multisize, Natural
Stainless Steel Measuring Cups - 5 Piece Stackable Measuring Set
Stainless Steel Metal Measuring Spoons, Fits in Spice Jar, Set of 6 with bonus Leveler
Oversized Cutting Board, 3 Piece, Non-Slip, Extra Large Thick Chopping Boards, Dishwasher Safe, Non-Porous, Set of 3
Chef Knife - 8 Inches
Calphalon Classic Nonstick Dutch Oven with Cover, 5 quart
6-Qt. Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 342Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 897mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 5gSugar: 3gProtein: 43g
Please note that the nutritional information listed on this page is an estimation based on the products I used. Ingredients and nutritional information can vary significantly between brands. Always be sure to read labels. Please verify that a recipe fits your needs before using it. Nutrition info may contain errors, so please verify it independently. Likewise, recipes may contain errors, so please use your common sense when following them.
Originally published on February 17, 2014. Updated on August 12, 2022.