River Cottage Australia



With veggies fresh from the winter garden, chewy roasted barley for a bit of body and a herby, spicy pesto for an extra kick of flavour, this soup will have you wishing that winter would never end. 


  • 1 cup (220g) pearl barley

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 8 spring onions or 2 leeks, thinly sliced

  • 2 litres homemade chicken stock *

  • 500g broccoli, stalks sliced and cut into florets

  • 1/4 white cabbage (400g), finely shredded

  • 2 cups (400g) fresh peas

  • Pesto

  • 4 cups fresh parsley leaves

  • 4 small red chillies, seeded and chopped *

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 cup (100g) walnut halves

  • 1 cup (125g) grated Parmesan

  • 1 1/3 cup (330ml) extra virgin olive oil


  • 1.

    Roast the barley in a large frying pan until it smells nutty and it is a deep dark brown colour. This will take about 10 minutes, keep an eye on it though as it can quickly catch and burn.

  • 2.

    Cook the barley in a large pan of lightly salted boiling water for 20 minutes until the barley is just soft. Drain well.

  • 3.

    Whilst the barley is cooking, heat the oil in a large pan, add the leeks and cook for 10 minutes or until the leeks are soft and golden.

  • 4.

    Add the broccoli stalks, cabbage and cook for 5 minutes or until they start to soften

  • 5.

    Stir the chicken stock and simmer for 20 minutes or until the broccoli stalks are tender. Add the broccoli florets, peas and barley and cook for 5 minutes or until the broccoli is tender.

  • Parsley Pesto:

  • 1.

    Put the parsley, chilli, garlic, walnuts, Parmesan and process until roughly chopped. With the motor running slowly add the oil until the pesto is thick.

  • 2.

    Serve the vegetable soup topped with a generous dollop of pesto.

Nutritional information

Nutritional analysis per serving (18 servings)

  • Energy 351kj
  • Fat Total 25g
  • Saturated Fat 4g
  • Protein 10g
  • Carbohydrate 22g
  • Sugar 5g
  • Sodium 281mg

Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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*The amount of chilli you use in your pesto will depend on the heat of the chillis, so do a quick check first.
*Vegetarians can substitute chicken stock for vegetable stock

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