Barley and Tempeh Soup

Use tempeh as an alternative to veggie crumbles

Barley Tempeh Soup

Barley and what soup?  Barley and Tempeh Soup! Well, we talked a lot about barley in our recipe for barley salad primavera. So, let's talk about tempeh. If you know all about tempeh already feel free to skip right to the barley and tempeh soup recipe!

There have been a number of occasions where we have used crumbled tempeh as an alternative to veggie crumbles in certain recipes. Those occasions have typically been in a recipe that was intended to be like a "Sloppy Joe" sandwich or some kind of quick stir fry.

But, soup? We thought we'd give it a try. The tempeh gives any dish a distinct flavor. When you consider that as well as the fact that it provides fiber and protein, it seemed like a good fit. It was. The barley and tempeh soup was thick and flavorful and very filling!

If you're not familiar yet with tempeh Here is a little primer.

Tempeh is a traditional soy product originally from Indonesia. It is likely to have originated in Java and is often called "Javanese meat" because it is so widely popular there.  Tempeh is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process. The fermentation process allows for retention of the whole bean and gives tempeh a higher content of protein, dietary fiber and vitamins. The fermentation process also makes tempeh easier to digest. However, today's tempeh does not always use soy as it's main ingredient. Tempeh is also made with beans, wheat, and whole grains.

Tempeh's complex flavor has been described as nutty, meaty, and mushroom-like. It is generally sold in a plastic container, wrapped tightly in the form of a dense cake or bar.
The density makes it easy to slice thin or thick and to crumble as well.

In 1/2 cup of tempeh you will get almost 16 grams of protein!  There is also lots of fiber (~ 4 grams).

So pick up some tempeh next time you go to the grocery or health food store and try this delicious soup!

Barley and Tempeh Soup


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon of dried basil
2 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups stewed tomatoes
3 medium red skinned potatoes, diced
1 medium to large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (8 ounce) package of tempeh, crumbled
1/3 cup quick cook barley
2 stalks celery, sliced
3 medium carrots, sliced

How we make it

Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until onions are translucent.

Add the tempeh and cumin, turn up the heat to medium-high and slightly brown the tempeh. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a Dutch oven or stew pot heat the water and vegetable broth to a boil. Add the potatoes, carrots and celery. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes begin to soften.

Reduce heat to a simmer. Add the basil and chili powder and mix thoroughly. Add the stewed tomatoes, onion, garlic and tempeh saute, cover and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes.

Finally, add the quick cook barley, mix thoroughly, cover and continue to simmer for about 10 more minutes.

Ladle into serving bowls and serve with a crusted bread or rolls.

Makes about 8 to 10 servings (1 - 1/2 cups each).

Per serving: Calories 184, Calories from Fat 62, Total Fat 7.23g, Saturated Fat 1.22g, Trans Fat 0.0g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 392mg, Potassium 735mg, Total Carbs 24.87g, Dietary Fiber 3.6g, Sugars 4.29g, Protein 8.04g

Note: The green beans you see in the photo were added as an afterthought. They were simply some leftovers I used up. However, adding more green beans certainly wouldn't hurt!

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