Reduced Carb Beef Barley Soup

It’s still winter here in New Jersey. And I’ve been on a soup kick recently because of the chill in the air. Nothing warms me up like a hot bowl of soup. One of my favorite’s is Beef Barley Soup. Warm, Hearty, Thick, and Delicious! However, I’ve been trying to reduce my carbohydrate intake. This isn’t a diet, or a fad, I just feel better when I eat less carbs.

But Beef Barley Soup is LOADED with carbohydrates. Barley is a good healthy carb, filled with tons of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. But when you’re trying to reduce those little buggers, this soup tends to be eliminated from the menu. So I took a look at one of my favorite recipes for Beef Barley Soup and decided that with a few modifications, I could REDUCE the carbs.

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Now, I want to point out that this is not a Keto Soup. And it isn’t a No-Carb Soup. It is just a REDUCED carb soup. At the bottom of the recipe, I’ll let you know what I eliminated and changed up!

Beef Cubes Browning for Yummy Beef Barley Soup
Beef Cubes Browning in Olive Oil

Prep Time: 15 minutes

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Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Total: 2 hours


1lb of stewing beef (I used a London Broil diced into cubes)

1tsp salt

1tsp black pepper

2-4Tbsp of olive oil divided

1 large onion diced

2 carrots diced

2-3 stalks of celery diced

3Tbsp minced garlic

1tsp dried oregano

1 6oz can of tomato paste

10c water

1/4c pearl barley

2Tbsp Better Than Bouillon – Reduced Sodium – Roasted Beef Base

2Tbsp Corn Starch

Adding in small diced vegetables


  1. Prep your cubed beef with your salt and pepper. This can be adjusted to taste.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of your olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Add your cubed beef to the pot and cook until it starts to brown on all sides. Depending on the shape/size of your pot, it may be easier to do this in batches. But it should take about 3-4 minutes per side.
  4. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside.
  5. Add your remaining olive oil to the pot along with your onion, carrot, and celery. Cook this until the onion is starting to turn translucent. Stirring occasionally for about 5-6 minutes.
  6. Add the tomato paste, garlic, and oregano. Mix well and cook until fragrant.
  7. Add a small amount of your water and deglaze the bottom of your pot. You will likely have little pieces of the beef and some vegetables sticking.
  8. Add the remaining water and your beef back to the pot. Stir in the Better Than Bouillon. Bring up to a boil, but then reduce the heat to a simmer for 30 minutes. You want your beef to be super tender. Depending on the size of your cubes, this could take as long as 45 minutes.
  9. Once your beef is tender, take 1 ladle of the broth and put aside in a small bowl.
  10. Add your barely to the soup, cover, and allow to simmer for an additional 45 minutes or until the barley is cooked through and completely soft.
  11. You will notice that because this has been simmering for so long, you will have evaporation. Give your soup a taste. If it has become too salty, add some additional water.
  12. In the small bowl of broth that you have set aside, add the corn starch and mix well.
  13. Slowly add the corn starch mixture to your soup stirring constantly. This will thicken your soup. You may not use all of the corn starch mixture before reaching your desired consistency. It’s important to add it slowly, and stir continuously so you don’t over thicken the soup.
  14. Remove the soup from the heat and serve!
Beef Barley Soup Simmering Away

There are a ton of Beef Barley Soup Recipes out there. I couldn’t find anything that had any modifications to reduce the carbohydrates, so I took on the task myself. As I stated before though, this is not a keto, Atkins, or no-carb soup. I just made a few modifications to REDUCE the carb load.

What I changed… The meat was supposed to be dredged in flour prior to browning in the pot. This helps it brown a bit, but it also creates a roux that makes the soup thicker. Instead of the flour, we use corn starch in this recipe because you use significantly less of it to get the same desired effect. All with eliminating a lot of the carbs from the flour.

The only other change was I reduced the amount of barley used from 1 cup to only 1/4 cup. Even with a 75% reduction, there is still enough barely in there to keep this soup super hearty and filling. Doug and I prefer this soup the next day. When I use a whole cup of barley it almost becomes a stew. The barley continues to inflate in the broth, even when in the refrigerator. So reducing how much we use at the beginning, it keeps that soup consistency the following day.


220 calories

12.7g carbs

13g fat

12.7g protein

Check Out My Frankfurter Tamale Casserole Recipe Here! This one is NOT reduced carb, but it IS really Yummy!

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