This Instant Pot Vegetable Beef Barley Soup is the ultimate in winter comfort food. Made with tender chunks of beef, fresh vegetables, barley (or cauliflower for low carb), and a rich, delicious broth. It is simple to make and comes together in just 30 minutes.
Ingredients in Vegetable Beef Barley Soup
- Beef: For this vegetable beef soup, I used chuck roast. It is an inexpensive cut of meat that gets very tender when slow cooked or cooked in an Instant Pot. You can use any cut of beef you prefer. (Try this Beef Stroganoff Soup)
- Beef broth: If you do not have beef broth, you can also use chicken broth.
- Carrots, onion, celery: This combination of aromatic vegetables is widely used in cooking of savory dishes and is commonly called mirepoix. It adds a delicious base flavor that can easily be built on.
- Tomatoes: For this recipe I used canned fire roasted tomatoes. You can also use regular diced tomatoes or 1 fresh medium tomato. (Try this Tomato Tortellini Soup)
- Herbs and spices: This recipe utilizes simple, every day spices that you likely already have in your pantry - salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, chili powder, and bay. But if you are willing to put in a little more effort, this is delicious with fresh chopped herbs - thyme, parsley, and rosemary in place of the Italian seasoning. (Try this Creamy Mushroom Soup)
- Pearl Barley: For this Instant Pot vegetable beef barley soup, I used pearled barley. It is easier to find and cooks much faster than whole barley. You could also use rice, quinoa, buckwheat, or even lentils. You can even skip it altogether and add a diced russet potato instead. Or for a low carb version, use cauliflower rice or small cauliflower florets. Alternatively, you can omit it altogether. If using cauliflower, add it in step 4 with the rest of the vegetables.
Step By Step Instructions
How to make Instant Pot Vegetable Beef Soup
STEP 1: Set the instant pot to sauté mode on medium heat then add the olive oil and onion. Cook until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes.
STEP 2: Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
STEP 3: Add the beef, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and chili powder. Stir and cook until most of the beef becomes browned, about 4 minutes.
STEP 4: Stir in the celery, carrots, and bay leaf.
STEP 5: Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until the carrots and celery are tender.
STEP 6: Add the beef broth, tomatoes, and bay leaf.
STEP 7: Finally, stir in the barley and turn the instant pot off.
STEP 8: Place the lid on the pot and seal it along with the quick release valve on top. Set it to manual and cook for 10 minutes (it will take about 10 minutes to heat up before the timer starts). Carefully push open the quick release valve on top to release all the steam, then remove the lid and set aside.
Recipe Tips and Variations
- Storage: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week. (These are my favorite storage and meal prep containers)
- Reheating: I recommend reheating this soup on the stovetop.
- Make Ahead: While this recipe is already quick and easy, you can prep all the veggies and the beef ahead of time and then just toss it in the Instant Pot when you are ready to eat. Alternatively, you can prep the meat and veggies ahead of time and freeze them for later use.
- Freezing: I like to make a double batch of this and freeze half for later. I simply vacuum seal it and then reheat it on the stovetop.
- Make it low carb: To make this a low carb vegetable beef soup, simply omit the barley. You can substitute extra veggies, or simply omit it. (more low carb soup recipes)
- Top with croutons: For a delicious crunch, top this vegetable beef barley soup with some of these Garlic Parmesan Croutons.
- Amp up the veggies: This recipe is great with just about any vegetable. I like to use whatever I have on hand at the time. Some of my favorites are cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, green beans, corn, peppers, and spinach.
- Make it vegetarian: To make this a vegetarian Instant Pot soup, simply omit the beef, add extra veggies and replace the beef broth with vegetable stock.
- Add red wine: To kick the flavor up a notch, add a splash of red wine when cooking the beef.
- Spice it up: Make a spicy vegetable beef soup by adding a little cayenne pepper or some hot sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
Barley is a whole grain, but is not gluten free. Gluten free substitutions include quinoa, rice, millet, buckwheat and amaranth.
Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven, sauté the beef in olive oil until browned. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside. Add a little more olive oil to the pan and add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Sauté until tender. Then mix in the beef broth, tomatoes, and seasonings. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 60 to 75 minutes. Add the barley and cook an additional 15 to 30 minutes or until the barley is cooked and the beef is tender.
I like to serve it with a side salad and these Low Carb Cheddar Dill Biscuits
Chuck roast is my favorite cut of meat for this soup. It is nice and fatty and is tender and juicy once cooked.
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