Filling and nutritious, this delicious chicken, pearl barley and veg soup is perfect for lunch

We made this delicious soup with Sakura’s soup function or with Bamboo and Panda’s slow cook function – it’s a very versatile and forgiving soup, you can throw any veg that you have into it, the more veg the better (*note when making this recipe in Panda, you will need to scale the ingredients down). For the green leafy veg you can use kale, spinach, anything you prefer – we made our soup with brocolli leaves and stalks and it was delicious.

Ingredients – remember you can put whatever you want in

  • 1 large red onion – chopped into chunks
  • 2 chicken breasts cut in half (if you want to substitute with cooked chicken, that’s fine)
  • 3/4 cup of pearl barley (washed)
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 bell pepper (whatever colour you have) chopped into chunks
  • 8 green beans chopped into smaller pieces
  • 4 baby sweetcorn chopped into smaller pieces
  • (Optional) brocolli stalks, sliced
  • Leafy green veg (cabbage, spinach, brocolli leaves) set aside
  • 5 stock cubes dissolved in 1 litre of hot water
  • 400ml hot water
  • Olive oil
  • For seasoning – salt, black pepper, white pepper, 1 teaspoon of dried tarragon, 1 teaspoon of oregano, a pinch of cayenne pepper


  1. Once all the ingredients are prepared, heat a little olive oil in a pan and add the onions. Fry for 5 minutes.
  2. When the onions are beginning to turn translucent, add the veg (apart from the leafy greens) and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Remove half of the veg from the pan and put into the inner bowl to make way for the chicken. Add the pearl barley to the inner bowl as well.
  4. Add the chicken to the pan and seal/brown on each side, adding a little of the stock if it starts to stick.
  5. Once sealed, add the whole of the stock to the pan, add seasoning and then transfer to the inner bowl. Mix all the ingredients together well and add the additional water.
  6. Close the lid and select the slow cook (or soup if you are using Sakura) programme. Cook for at least 2 hours.
  7. 20 minutes before you are ready to serve, open the lid and adjust the seasoning. At this point, take out the large pieces of chicken, put in a bowl and pull/shred with two forks. Once shredded, put the chicken back into the soup and add the leafy green veg to cook.
  8. Serve with big chunks of sourdough bread

This recipe freezes very well, so don’t worry about having too much – you have an easy soup in the freezer ready to defrost and reheat.