Nordic Barley Celery Root Winter Soup

Nordic Winter Barley Soup – Healthy, Whole Grain, Plant-Based, Oil-Free, Vegan Comfort Food Recipe

Easy |  Servings: 4 |  Ready In: 35 minutes|  Yield: 8 cups soup

Hearty, whole grain barley pairs with the winter root vegetables  parsnips and celery root for this healthy, satisfying soup.  Inspired by a recipe from Danish Chef Trina Hahnemann, a dash of nutmeg adds unique Nordic flavor to this oil-free vegan recipe.


  • 1 medium leek, trimmed, cleaned, and sliced
  • 1 celery root (about 3/4 pound), peeled and diced
  • 2 parsnips (bout 1/2 pound), peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup pearled barley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (or 1 low-sodium vegan bouillon cube + 4 cups water)
  • 2 cups water
  • 5 sprigs thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

How it’s Done:

To Make the Nordic Barley Celery Root Winter Soup:  Preheat a large pot over medium-high heat. No oil is needed.  Add the leeks. Cover and sweet until leeks are translucent, about 8-10 minutes.
When leeks are done sweating, add the celery root, parsnips, and barley. Cook, uncovered, about 5 minutes, until there is just a little color on the parsnips.
Add the garlic, vegetable stock, water, thyme, and bay leaves. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Cook for about 20 minutes, until the barley is tender.

Remove the thyme sprig and bay leaves.  Stir in the spinach and nutmeg. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit until spinach wilts, just a minute or so.  Taste to adjust seasoning.

Serve and enjoy!

Chef Katie’s Tips

Gluten-Free: Barley contains gluten. For a gluten-free option, substitute with a wild rice blend or buckwheat.

How to Peel Celery Root: You can use a good vegetable peeler to peel the celery root. You can also use a paring knife or chef’s knife.

Pearled vs Unpearled Barley: Pearled barley has been “polished” to remove some of the extra starches.  Using pearled barley in this soup helps it retain its texture and give you a clearer broth.  For a starchier broth, use unpearled barley. Simply add 10 minutes or so to the cooking time

Watch to Learn More:


Nutrition Facts

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 84
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2 g 3 %
Saturated Fat 0 g 2 %
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 1 mg 0 %
Sodium 162 mg 7 %
Potassium 259 mg 7 %
Total Carbohydrate 14 g 5 %
Dietary Fiber 3 g 13 %
Sugars 2 g
Protein 2 g 5 %
Vitamin A 43 %
Vitamin C 24 %
Calcium 7 %
Iron 9 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Shopping and Gear List

  • Simply Organic Bay Leaf Certified Organic, 0.14-Ounce Container
  • Bob’s Red Mill Pearl Barley, 30-ounce
  • Edward & Sons Low Sodium Veggie Bouillon Cubes, 2.2-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12)


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