Slow Cooker Root Vegetable Soup w/ Pearl Barley

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8-10
Prep: 30-60 mins (*Dependant on skill and desired serving size.)
Cooking time: 4-7 hrs (*Dependent on SC setting.)
Type: Main meal
Tools: Colander, chopping board, sharp knife, slow cooker

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, magnesium, potassium, zinc and (per serving) is low in sugar, salt and saturated fats!

This is a great autumnal or winter vegetable-based soup. It’s easy to execute and adapted not only to the season but your taste buds! Our variation contains a great blend of herbs and some delicious (chunky) veggies! 

The peas and pearl barley provide a great source of protein, but feel free to swap them for your favourite type of legume, pulse and/or grain; smoked seitan or tofu would also make a tasty addition! Diet permitting, you could add a little lean beef or chicken (we think that this could also work quite well!). 

We cooked the pearl barley separately and would recommend doing so, unless this is only going to be served as ‘one meal’. We have found in the past that the pearl barley keeps absorbing liquid… so your next day leftovers will be more barley than broth! :/

You’ll find that we initially kept the liquid to a minimum; we were waiting to see how much water was given off in the first 3 hours before adding any more! However, we have advised for everyone to add all of the liquid at start of the cooking process. 

Quick Food Fact: Per serving (based on 10 servings!), this soup provides you with about 3.3 servings of vegetables towards your 5-A-Day!

Happy cooking everyone! 😀


We used 1/2 the swede and 1/4 of the cabbage shown here; fresh thyme and rosemary not shown here.



Need an easy-print version? Print here. 🙂



Wash and then chop the potato into chunks. Wash, trim the ends and quarter the parsnip. Transfer the potato and parsnip into a slow cooker.



Wash, peel and chop the swede into chunks. Wash, trim the ends and slice the carrot; transfer the vegetables into the slow cooker.

The only root vegetable we peeled was the swede; it’s time saving, but it also adds some extra nutrients to the soup (just remember to give your veggies a good scrub first)!



Peel and dice the onion. Wash, remove the stem and core and then roughly chop the bell pepper. Peel and dice the garlic; transfer the vegetables into the slow cooker.




Wash and roughly slice (or shred) the cabbage leaves. Wash the parsley; remove the leaves from its stem and roughly chop them. Remove the rosemary sprigs from its stem and roughly chop them. Remove the thyme leaves from its stem.



Add the cabbage, parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage, bay leaf, black pepper and 1/2 tsp of salt  into the slow cooker. Add the pearl barley (if applicable*).

*See above notes.



Prepare the stock. Pour in the hot stock and some (just boiled) water. Cover with a lid. Cook on a high heating setting for about 3.5 hrs or on a low heat setting for 7-8hrs instead.



When there is about 40 minutes of cooking time left, defrost the peas. Add the corn flour to a small dish with equal parts water; stir into a paste to form a ‘slurry’. Add the peas into slow cooker. Whilst stirring, pour in the slurry. Stir until dissolved and combined. Cover with the lid. Cook for a further 40 mins.



In the meantime, cook the pearl barley according to the packet instructions.

Ours took 30 mins to cook. NB: We lightly oiled and seasoned the leftover pearl barley to prevent it becoming one, big flavourless blob!



Stir and season the soup to taste before serving.



Serve warm. Place some pearl barley into a large serving bowl (if applicable). Ladle the soup over the barley. Stir together. Garnish with some parsley (if preferred).

We served ours with some tasty spirulina-based bread! 🙂




Savoy Cabbage & Swede Soup

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6-8
Prep & Cooking Time: 75 mins (*Dependant upon skill & the number of kitchen helpers!)

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, no added sugars  (per serving) is low in add salt and and fats! 

This soup is perfect for those that love autumnal/winter veggies; it’s also oh so creamy and absolutely delicious! Vary the vegetables, herbs and legumes if desired, put try not to miss out on some naturally sweet and tasty swede!

Quick Foodie Facts:

  • A portion of vegetables is 80 grams, so depending on how many servings you decide to have, be prepared to get approximately 2-3 of your 5-A-Day!
  •  A swede is also known as a rutabaga or ‘neeps’ and is similar to a turnip.
  • Haricot beans are also referred to as ‘navy’ beans!



Per serving (based on 8 servings), this soup provides approx:

125Kcal, 5.1g Protein, 0.56g Fat, 0.11g S/fat, 6.4g Fibre, 0.82g Salt, 1.3mg Iron /Serving



+++++++++++++++++++++++++400g     Savoy cabbage
+++++++++++++++++++++++++900g     Swede
+++++++++++++++++++++++++2L          Vegetable stock (low-sodium/DF/GF)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++500ml  Water
+++++++++++++++++++++++++180g      Carrots
+++++++++++++++++++++++++240g      Baking potato
+++++++++++++++++++++++++160g      White onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g          Garlic clove
+++++++++++++++++++++++++5g          Fresh thyme
+++++++++++++++++++++++++10g        Fresh parsley
+++++++++++++++++++++++++200g     Tinned haricot beans (in unsalted water)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1             Bay leaf
+++++++++++++++++++++++++              Ground black pepper



Chop the cabbage into half, remove the stem and then chop it into fine slices. Place it into a large bowl. Fill with cold water and allow it to soak. Drain in a colander.

NB: Alternatively just rinse it in a large colander; we find this method easier!


Wash, trim the ends, peel and dice the swede.


Meanwhile, place a large, non-stick saucepan or ‘stock pot’ over a medium-high heat. Add the stock and water. Stir together. Cover with a lid. Bring to the boil.


In the meantime, finish preparing the veggies. Wash, trim the ends, peel and then chop the carrot into halves. Wash and dice the potato. Peel and dice the onion. Peel and crush the garlic. Wash, dry and roughly chop the thyme and parsley. Drain and rinse the beans.


NB: Fresh herbs such as thyme and rosemary are more ‘robust’ so they can be added at the being of the recipe…. while herbs such as parsley, coriander and basil should be added towards the end. Alternatively, if you want the herbs to remain fresh and bright, add them at the end.

  • Place the cabbage, swede, carrot, potato, onion, garlic, thyme and bay leaf into the saucepan of boiling stock. Season it with some black pepper to taste. Stir together. Bring back to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover with a lid. Allow it to cook for 20 mins or until the vegetables are tender.
  • Remove from the heat. Add the parsley. Season it with black pepper to taste. Stir through. Allow it to cool slightly. Tip: Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf and discard!


Notes: We had to purée our soup in three batches. NB: All of our soup went into this plastic tub for more nutritious lunches this week! 🙂

  •  Transfer the soup into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Tip: Alternatively you can use a hand-held stick blender in the saucepan and purée the soup.
  •  Add the beans into another large saucepan or resealable container (if applicable) or into your pot of puréed soup (if using a hand-held stick blender) .
  • Transfer the puréed soup into the saucepan or resealable container (if applicable). Mix together. Repeat until all of the soup is puréed. Place the saucepan back over a medium-low heat (if applicable) and reheat.



Serve warm. Ladle the soup into a serving bowl. Garnish with some herbs, croutons or seeds if desired.

We used dried chives, sweet paprika, pumpkin seeds and served it with a slice of multi-grain toast. 🙂




Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable container and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, freeze portions in small/resealable containers. Defrost and reheat; best consumed within 1-2 months.



If preferred… 

  • Add some unsweetened & fortified almond or soya milk for additional nutrients and an even ‘creamier’ taste.
  • Additionally, swap some of the stock for DF milk or plain water to reduce the salt content  and/or add more herbs/spices or ground black pepper instead.
  • Use fresh or frozen herbs and/or vegetables and dried beans instead of tinned.
  • Use spices rather than herbs.
  • A bit of nutritional yeast for a ‘nutty/cheesy’ element and a GF bread roll or some multi-grain toast would also not go a miss.If your diet permits, serve with some low-fat grated cheese.
  • Serve with a dollop of plain soya yoghurt.