My Mother’s Healthy Mushroom Barley Soup Will Win Your Heart and Warm Your Bones!

A Hearty Healthy Soup

It is extremely cold and snowy in Chicago and other parts of the country and the world. That means it is time to make my mother’s hearty soup.  However, you do not have to live in a cold climate to enjoy making and eating her soup.

Meal In A Bowl

The photo is Jordan enjoying the first batch of soup for the winter season. For me, it is also the perfect time to make my mother’s mushroom barely soup, just as she always did. My mother would win people’s hearts and warm their winter-chilled bones with her specialty, which is a healthy, comforting, and delicious meal in a bowl!

A Special Birthday Gift

My mother’s specialty was the anticipated centerpiece of her renowned “Soup Parties.” It also was my husband’s favorite birthday gift that my mother would make when we lived in Chicago. When we lived in New Jersey in the 70’s and California in the 80’s , my mother would pack a container of frozen soup and take it to FedEx to be packed in dry ice and shipped to our home.

Honoring My Mother and Continuing The Tradition

My beloved mother (of blessed memory) passed on September 30, 2001. I enjoy honoring her memory by continuing her tradition of making her soup for Jordan and sharing her soup recipe with others! I hope you will enjoy her soup and share her recipe with others!

Sylvia’s Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe

Gluten-Free Tip: If you cannot eat barley, you can substitute the barley with quinoa!
Below is my mother’s recipe. I trust you will enjoy it, as much as our family does!
Sylvia’s Mushroom Barley Soup
2 Lbs. of brisket or stir fry meat.
Wash brisket, cut the meat into bite-size pieces, and place in soup pot. Bring meat to a slow boil. Remove meat and wash pot to remove scum.
Return meat to pot and add the following:
2 Marrow bones or 4 beef shank bones
4 Cups of mushrooms – a variety of types creates more flavor
1 Large onion cut into bite-size pieces
2 Cups of carrots, cut into bite-size pieces
2 Cups of celery stalks, including leaves, cut into bite-size pieces
1 Parsnip
1 Celery root or bottom of celery bunch (remove before serving)
1 Large handful of fresh parsley (remove before serving) or use a bunch of parsley roots
1 Small to medium sweet potato
1 Clove garlic (with toothpick to remove later) or ¼ tsp. garlic powder
1½ Cups barley (rinsed)

Fill pot with water to cover the vegetables and meat. Cook slowly over low heat for several hours. The soup will thicken the longer it cooks, and you may need to add extra water. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Refrigerate overnight for the best taste. Skim any fat off the top of the soup and warm before serving.

Make A Thicker Soup

I have amended my mother’s recipe by combining the parsnip, parsley roots, and sweet potato, soup liquid in the blender.  I blend all the vegetable and liquid and then add blended veggies back into the soup to make a thicker soup.

Closing Thoughts


My family business memoir No Bunk, Just BS (Business Sense) is available on
10% of royalties from the sale of No Bunk is allocated to the Raue Center For The Arts – Children’s Educational Program – Mission Imagination.  


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Please Spread the Word



  1. Terri Hart on January 26, 2022 at 2:00 am

    Soups are my specialty. I might get a new idea from a recipe, however never actually followed one. Generally use whatever’s in the fridge. Pretty much deleted meat from our diet , years ago. Now, soup is pretty much all Carl can swallow, plus he really likes it. (Esophageal cancer and advanced Alzheimers). By the way I managed to find organic mashed potatoes which I use for thickening soups and sauces. This recipe looks delicious even without meat. Sounds like your Mom was a wonderful mother in law to Jordy. How lucky for him.

    • sheila on January 26, 2022 at 3:46 pm

      Dear Teri. I did not know that soups were your specialty. I would enjoy any of your favorite recipes. I like that you have adapted your recipes. I was sad to read about Carl’s Esophageal Cancer. I knew about his advanced Alzheimer’s. What is the name of your organic mashed potatoes??Yes, the soup would still be delicious without the meat. Please, let me know how you like it. Yes, we were blessed. My mother was fantastic mother and mother-in-law. She and Jordy had a special bond! {:-) Love, Sweet Memories, and Healthy hugs to you and Carl! {:-)

  2. Connie Podgorski on January 26, 2022 at 11:06 am

    I love mushroom barley soup so will definitely try this recipe. Thanks Sheila. Hubby looks happy. Hope you’re both well. Think of you so very often. Remember the good times, hugs Connie.

    • sheila on January 26, 2022 at 3:40 pm

      Dear Connie, I am so glad you will try my mother’s soup. You are most welcome for the recipe! Yes, Jordy is always happy with this soup. It is his favorite winter soup. In the summer, he loves my mother-in-law’s cold spinach borscht. I also think of you and Bob very often. We both have so many grand memories about the 3 of us! I hope you are also staying well, warm, and safe. Sending you Love and Healthy Hugs, Sheila {:-)

  3. Clara arbisrr on January 27, 2022 at 7:35 am

    Sheila , my mom was and excellent cook as well.
    The barley mushroom soup was delicious, we were pour but I do remember her soups made with meat bones and chicken. Our home always had room for homeless people to eat in our table , she just added water to the soup and everyone ate. Some of the homeless were survivors from the holocaust that my parents helped even when we were not able financially there was always the magical soups.

    • sheila on January 27, 2022 at 2:32 pm

      Dearest Clara, thank you for your “love”ly comment! Your parents were like mine. Everyone was welcome in our home, especially those in need. I loved the “magical soup” especially for the Holocaust survivors who you helped! Your parents were gute nshmus, just like you are!

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