Versatile, nutritious and filling this vegetable soup recipe has been used for centuries throughout Ireland and we can see why. Delicious. 

Feel free to try this traditional Irish hearty vegetable soup recipe with a handful of streaky bacon or raw chorizo sauteed with the vegetables for an added flavor. It is also a great way to use up a small amount of leftover cooked diced chicken, lamb or beef.

Serve with warm brown soda bread and lashings of butter for a complete meal. Leftovers can be covered with clingfilm and stored in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. It is also great in a flask as a lunchtime option for college or work.

Hearty vegetable soup recipe

Serves: 4-6 people
Time: 30 min


- 50g pearl barley

- 2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil

- 1 onion, finely chopped

- 1 leek, trimmed and finely chopped

- 2 carrots, finely chopped

- 2 celery sticks, finely chopped

- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

- 1.2 liters vegetable or chicken stock (from cubes is fine)

- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

- Brown soda bread and butter, to serve (optional).


Put the pearl barley in a sieve and rinse well under cold running water. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, carrots, celery and thyme. Sauté for 4-5 minutes until softened and just starting to catch a little color. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour the stock into the vegetable mixture and add the rinsed barley. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the vegetables and barley are tender but still holding their shape.

Stir the parsley into the soup and ladle it into warmed bowls and serve with some slices of brown soda bread and butter, if liked.

For more Irish recipes visit Bord Bia.

* Originally published in January 2022. Updated in June 2024.