Chunky Vegetable & Barley Soup with Garlic Courdough Croȗtons

To make Dairy-free omit parmesan | To make Vegan omit parmesan | To make Gluten-free omit barley (and use cannellini beans or GF pasta)Is there any dish more humble and nourishing than a vegetable soup? With ten different vegetables and loads of fresh herbs stirred in at the end, this soup is packed to the brim with goodness. Make sure you use some fresh oregano and marjoram if you have it. The addition of barley makes it substantial enough for a main course; you could also use orzo pasta or cannellini beans. Then all that’s needed is a drizzle of good-quality extra-virgin olive oil and some crunchy, garlicky croûtons. It keeps well in the fridge over a few days and freezes well for those nights you need instant warming up.
Course Soups and Salad
Dairy Free, Diabetic, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 leek (white part) finely sliced
  • 2 stalks celery sliced (reserve a handful of celery leaves)
  • 2 carrots peeled and diced 2cm
  • 3-4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 tablespoons thyme and/or rosemary chopped
  • 400 g pumpkin peeled, diced 2cm
  • ½ cup barley rinsed and drained
  • 400 g crushed tomatoes can
  • 1 tablespoons chipotle sauce
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 2 courgettes sliced 1cm-thick
  • 150 g green beans chopped
  • 1 handful spinach or silverbeet leaves chopped (optional)
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ –1 cup mixed herbs (e.g. parsley, coriander, oregano, marjoram) chopped
  • olive oil extra-virgin (to drizzle )


  • 4 slices sourdough bread cut or torn into 2cm pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons thyme leaves chopped
  • ¼ cup parmesan finely grated


  • Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Cook onion and leek for 6–8 minutes until soft.
  • Add celery, carrot, garlic, thyme/rosemary and pumpkin and continue to cook for a further 4–5 minutes.
  • Add barley, tomatoes, chipotle sauce and vegetable stock, simmer for about 15 minutes until pumpkin and barley are tender.
  • While soup is cooking, toss sourdough with olive oil, garlic, thyme and parmesan on a tray lined with baking paper and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 180°C for 15 minutes until golden and crispy.
  • Add courgettes, green beans and spinach/silverbeet (if using) to soup and continue simmering for 3–4 minutes until tender. Stir through lemon juice and herbs and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Ladle soup into bowls, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and top with croûtons.