What makes this shiitake barley mushroom soup so satisfying is a mix of leeks, mushrooms, ginger, barley, spinach, and miso. Easy, fast, and eminently slurpable.
Umami. It’s that elusive depth of flavor that brings seemingly endless layers to this soup made with shiitake mushrooms, barley, spinach, leeks, and miso. So it’s no surprise that our testers are calling this umami-rich soup “comforting,” “nurturing,” and “deeply-satisfying.” We couldn’t agree more.–Angie Zoobkoff
Shiitake Mushroom Barley Soup
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H, 15 M
- Serves 4 to 6
IngredientsEmail Grocery List
Recipe Testers Reviews
This umami-rich shiitake mushroom barley soup was hearty, comforting, and full of flavor. Perfect for a cool late winter evening. The soup had so many layers of flavor and the combination of hearty barley and meaty mushrooms made for a fantastic meatless meal with a loaf of crusty bread alongside.
I did add a bit more soy sauce at the end, but still felt it was underseasoned. We had to add a bit of salt at the table.
This is exactly what a classic miso soup should be: the individual flavors of the ingredients are ever so gently present in every spoonful. I love the earthy umami of shiitake, the warmth of ginger, a whiff of the ocean from nori, but the sweet melt-in-your-mouth leeks are what I adore most here.
The mellow weight of the creamy barley reminds me of an excellent risotto—it’s reassuring, like the softest blanket your cheek will ever touch. With the word “comforting” in mind, I used white miso for this recipe for its rounder flavor (red miso typically has a sharper salty flavor). I grew up eating miso soup almost daily, and I’m sorry I had never thought of marrying it with mushroom and barley, one of my favorite soups of the West, until now.
This shiitake mushroom barley soup is such a hearty and fulfilling soup that I would almost dare to call it a stew. As promised, it delivers layers of healthy, deeply satisfying flavor and does indeed feel like the most nurturing meal you could serve in a bowl! The ingredients are simple to gather if you don’t already have most of them in your pantry and fridge, and the recipe itself involves very little effort with maximum pay-off; the creamy miso swirl-in at the end of the preparation takes this from very, very good to truly transcendent!
I loved the soup as written with all its vegetarian goodness, but for my meat-loving husband, I stirred in some julienned pork tenderloin that I had marinated in soy and ginger and grilled: a perfect variation! I used white miso and stirred in some grilled and julienned pork tenderloin along with the spinach. Chicken would also be great if you wished to make a heartier dish than the base recipe. As recommended, I touched up the seasoning at the end with a stir-in of 1 teaspoon additional soy sauce. Delicious!
This shiitake mushroom barley soup was just what I needed on a drizzly, cool spring day. The meatiness of the mushrooms paired with the saltiness of the miso made this a filling, comforting, and delicious meal. I also think that this soup can be modified as desired—I would definitely add more spinach, as I loved it in the soup and wanted more.