This morning I woke up to the sound of rain.  Such a beautiful way to start the day.  Southern California has been in a drought for years, so we are extremely thankful to have rain this winter!  It’s supposed to rain for the next five days, which means it’s time to make some soup.  My mom’s mushroom barley soup is one of my favorites.  The key ingredient is the Tamari sauce which is a gluten-free version of soy sauce.   It gives the soup a rich and savory flavor.  Aside from the fact that it is healthier than soy sauce, I prefer the flavor and use the organic, low-sodium version a lot in my everyday cooking

It’s so easy to make and, like most soups, tastes better the next day.  I hope you like it as much as my family does!

Makes 6-8 bowls of soup.


Use organic ingredients if available

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 3 large leeks, sliced excluding the tops
  • 2 large Portobello mushrooms, cubed
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms (or other type of mushroom you prefer), diced
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ½ cup Tamari Sauce, gluten-free, low-sodium
  • 1 cup barley
  • 3 cups spinach
  • Fresh lemons for garnish


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 6 quart or larger soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic and leeks. Sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the mushrooms. Cook 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the basil, parsley and pepper and cook for 1 additional minute.
  4. Pour in the broth, Tamari and barley. Cover the pot and bring the contents to a boil. Then turn the heat down to low and cook for about 15 minutes until the barley is ready.
  5. Add the spinach. Cover the pot and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  7. Serve hot and garnish with fresh lemon juice and Tamari to taste.


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