This hearty soup might be titled Super Easy Instant Pot Vegetable Barley Soup, but it could just as easily be called Whatever You Have On Hand Soup.
First off, you need an Instant Pot. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend you buy one from Amazon if you make a lot of rice, soups, chili, and beans. It’ll make your life so much easier. You throw the ingredients into the pot, push the buttons on the program display, and then go about your life, forgetting about it until the timer goes off. (Disclosure: I’m an Amazon associate and if you click the link and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission for the referral.)
My super easy Instant Pot vegetable barley soup serves 2, or in my case serves 1 for a couple of meals! To make more servings, add more water and ingredients.
Put 4 cups of water into the pot. If you happen to have vegetarian soup stock on hand, put in a teaspoon or two. If you don’t have any soup stock, add your favorite seasonings.
Then add about 1/3 cup of barley.
I put in a couple of handfuls of frozen peas and a couple of handfuls of frozen corn. Sometimes I use frozen mixed vegetables or California mix vegetables. It comes down to whatever I have on hand or what I’m in the mood for. If you’re the type of person that stocks up on canned vegetables, add them in!
You can absolutely add your own chopped fresh vegetables to the Instant Pot. But then you couldn’t really call it Super Easy Vegetable Barley Soup because you’ve just made more work for yourself. Sometimes I’ll chop a little bit of onion into the soup.
If I have fresh spinach or kale in the fridge I’ll toss in a handful.
Often I’ve made beans in my Instant Pot and frozen them. If I have kidney or black beans in the freezer, I’ll toss some in too.
Again, we’re following the old whatever I have on hand rule when it comes to my super easy Instant Pot vegetable barley soup.
Next put the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the valve is in the sealing position.
Push the Soup button. The display changes from Off to 30 (minutes). After a few seconds the 30 disappears and On is shown on the display.
The Instant Pot is now building up pressure. It will hiss a bit in a few minutes. Just ignore it. Nothing bad is happening except you’re trying to figure out where that weird noise is coming from! When the pot is pressurized, the 30 again appears on the Display and counts down.
After 30 minutes the timer goes off. Leave the Instant Pot alone. It will now go to warming mode and start counting upwards. At 10 minutes you can turn the Instant Pot off, and using oven mitts so you don’t get blasted with steam, turn the valve to venting to release the pressure.
Or you can just let the Instant Pot naturally depressurize, and that takes about 20 minutes or so until the valve stopper drops down. If you’re not ready to eat the super easy Instant Pot Vegetable barley soup, then its OK to leave it on the warming mode.
Leftover soup can be refrigerated. And soup always tastes better the next day, especially soup with barley.