GUEST POST: Purim and Mushroom Barley Soup


This guest post was written by Anabelle Harari. Her bio appears below.

As Purim is upon us, I wanted to create a Purim inspired meal that went out of the typical hamentashen. Did you know that when Queen Esther was living in the King’s palace she was vegetarian? She didn’t eat meat because she wanted to uphold the kosher tradition.

Indeed being a vegetarian or vegan makes life alot easier when keeping kosher. So what would Esther have eaten? She probably needed some comfort food while having to deal with the fate of the Jewish people- that’s just my guess.

So, in celebration of Purim, here is warm and comforting vegan mushroom and barley soup. Cozy up to this soup with some warm bread and enjoy Purim in comfort!


1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, as needed
1 large onion, chopped
2 cups chopped mushrooms (you can use an assortment if you prefer)
2 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt, to taste
½ cup whole or pearl barley
4 cups vegetable stock or water
A few sprigs of thyme
Freshly ground pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat, and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, until just about tender, and add the sliced fresh mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are beginning to soften, and add the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Continue to cook for about five minutes, until the mixture is juicy and fragrant. Add the barley, and the stock or water. Salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Add in the sprigs of thyme during the simmering time and pull it out when the soup is done.

The barley should be tender and the broth aromatic. Add a generous amount of freshly ground pepper and serve.

Yield: Serves two to four

Note: The soup will keep for about three days in the refrigerator, but the barley will absorb liquid, so you will have to add more water or stock to the pot when you reheat.


Anabelle Harari is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College. She is a sustainable food blogger and the community attache for Birthright Israel Experts. She lives in Jerusalem and you can connect with her@thelocalbelle.


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