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Immune-Supporting Miso Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe | Rich in Antioxidants & Vitamins

Jan 28, 2024

Immune-Supporting Miso Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe | Rich in Antioxidants & Vitamins

Antioxidant-rich Miso Mushroom Barley Veggie Soup

I don’t often make a direct health inference from a recipe however Miso Mushroom Barley Veggie Soup is loaded with nutrients phytonutrients that support our immunity. I don’t have the same inner invitation to share this soup in the summer months, so when all the cruciferous veggies are here at the market, I get excited to jump in and make this one.

Today, I want to share with you a recipe that is one that I have been eating every winter for the last 30 years.

cutting board of vegetables

It is fully soup season!

This mushroom barley miso soup is a variation of a soup I had as a child. Oh my, did I love Campbell’s soup. When my parents were working, I would come home and open up the soup right away.

Interestingly, the version that I had back them was a beef mushroom barley. And to be honest, I would take the beef bits out of the soup. Neither the texture nor the taste appealed to me.

However, since those times, soup is the food I know I can nourish myself with. And I have tried many varieties since then.

Seasonal Markets are Amazing for Community

Winter brings the magic of soup season, where every simmering pot is a cozy embrace. It’s a time for nourishing broths and hearty stews, each spoonful warming us from the inside out. Embrace the chill with bowls of comfort, rich in flavors and steeped in tradition. Soup season is here.

See all my favorite soups here! Pretty much every soup I make is some variation of this.

Some time ago, I found myself at a farm that was “growing” shiitake mushrooms on old logs. It was fascinating to think about. The regenerative qualities from mushrooms are very powerful part of our ecosystem. Though in Ayurveda, they can be thought to be not part of a sattvic diet, I love to include them. Our local market has some wonderful options with regards to mushrooms and I am really grateful for that.

Shiitake Mushrooms are Found in Many Farmer’s Markets

This image below is from a market that I found in Copenhagen when visiting one summer.

It was so delightful to see how responsive the mushrooms are to so many different environments. And it is truly diverse in what it can be made into.

What makes Shiitake Mushrooms special?

The shiitake mushrooms that are found in this Miso Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe are actually a source of considerable scientific interest. We can hope that as time moves forward, there will be specific evidence based recommendations on how to think about adding shiitake or the active constituents in it to our meals.

From Borodina et al, 2020, Mushroom or ERG consumption seems to provide significant prevention against oxidative stress in a large variety of systems. ERG seems to have strong cytoprotective status, and its concentration is lowered in a number of chronic inflammatory diseases.

It is synthesised by a variety of microbes, especially fungi (including in mushroom fruiting bodies) and actinobacteria, but is not synthesised by plants and animals who acquire it via the soil and their diet, respectively.

The biological activity of ERF varies on exposure to a specific biological system and functional enzymes but it has been largely characterized as a potent antioxidant that supports oxidative stress and inflammation. Read more here.

Interestingly, one study by Feng et al, 2019, found that consuming 1-5 mushroom servings per week was associated with a halving of the incidence of mild cognitive impairment (a precursor of Alzheimer’s dementia), while intake of nine servings per week was associated with a five-fold decrease.

If you dig into the research within either of these papers, it is apparent that the actions of ergothioneine on humans is incredibly complex but generally considered useful. There is increasing awareness that health may be enhanced via the consumption of substances that either have no recommended daily intake or are taken at levels greater than normal. ERG, a potent and effective antioxidant, seems to be an important option that humans are not able to synthesize. The chief source of ERG in the human diet is mushrooms (usually the fruiting bodies of Basidiomycetes).

Borodina I, Kenny LC, McCarthy CM, Paramasivan K, Pretorius E, Roberts TJ, van der Hoek SA, Kell DB. The biology of ergothioneine, an antioxidant nutraceutical. Nutr Res Rev. 2020 Dec;33(2):190-217. doi: 10.1017/S0954422419000301

Feng L, Cheah IK, Ng MM, Li J, Chan SM, Lim SL, Mahendran R, Kua EH, Halliwell B. The Association between Mushroom Consumption and Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Community-Based Cross-Sectional Study in Singapore. J Alzheimers Dis. 2019;68(1):197-203.

We are well served to incorporate Japanese mushrooms like Shiitake into our diet.

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The food we eat significantly impacts our health, but how we prepare it can also have an effect. Eating a diet high in processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats can lead to many health problems, such as obesity and heart disease. Furthermore, what if I told you that changing these factors could make all the difference? You can improve your health by cooking your meals with whole food and plant-based ingredients. First, grab this free recipe ebook that incorporates flavors and principles from my Ayurvedic and Lifestyle Medicine training, and it is 100% plant-based. Then let me know what you have made.

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What is in Season?

Cruciferous vegetables are readily available this time of year!

We have been incorporating bok choy into many of our soups as it cooks very quickly. When we visited one of favorite Asian vendors, he told us that he eats the bok choy lightly sauteed with salt and pepper and a little bit of oil. I decided to try that and add to the top of this soup. It was fabulous.

Bok Choy is filled with beneficial nutrients; the sulfur-containing Glucosinolates are responsible for the characteristic pungent aroma and bitter flavor of this cruciferous vegetable.

Here is a breakdown of what can be found:

  1. Glucosinolates: Compounds that can break down into biologically active substances like isothiocyanates, with potential anti-cancer properties.
  2. Flavonoids: Including quercetin and kaempferol, known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
  3. Carotenoids: Such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, beneficial for eye health and immune function.
  4. Phenolic Acids: Antioxidants that contribute to the reduction of oxidative stress.
  5. Vitamin C and Vitamin E: Essential antioxidants important for immune function and skin health.

Connolly EL, Sim M, Travica N, Marx W, Beasy G, Lynch GS, Bondonno CP, Lewis JR, Hodgson JM, Blekkenhorst LC. Glucosinolates From Cruciferous Vegetables and Their Potential Role in Chronic Disease: Investigating the Preclinical and Clinical Evidence. Front Pharmacol. 2021 Oct 26;12:767975

Also, the miso has live active cultures, and the barley has the pre-biotic beta-glucan, which is all great support for a diverse microbiome.

Are You Going to Try Miso Mushroom Vegetable Soup?

When I share a recipe on the blog, this is food that we eat every day in our plant-based kitchen. We don’t strive for perfection, we aim for nourishment that can sustain us for the work we feel called to do while on this planet.

I encourage you to reinvent and change the recipes to suit your palate, budget and people that you feed.

In many ways, these recipes could be thought of as building blocks or creative inspiration. Using them helps create a routine in the kitchen that reduces decision fatigue that comes up when planning meals.

Please share your feedback on the recipes as well in the comments below. I would love to hear how you adapted it in your kitchen.

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Let’s Make THIS amazing soup!

Join me in celebrating seasonal recipes!

The incorporation of these mindful choices into our meals helps us stay on the path of a balanced, nutrient-rich plant-forward lifestyle.

Please help me get the word out about plant-based healthy living so that doctors know the value of lifestyle changes by sharing this post on your social media.

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Immune-Boosting Miso Mushroom Barley Soup Recipe | Rich in Antioxidants & Vitamins

  • Author: Dr. Siri Chand
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Discover the power of phytonutrients with this Miso Mushroom Barley Veggie Soup! 🌿🍄 Packed with Vitamin C, antioxidants, and immune-boosting ingredients, this recipe is perfect for cold winter days. Shiitake mushrooms, cruciferous veggies, and a burst of flavors from miso make it a must-try. Nourish your body with each spoonful. Dive into the recipe now! #HealthyLiving #PlantBased #MisoSoup #ImmunityBoost #WinterRecipes #VeganCooking”


Units Scale
  • 6 cups mushroom or vegetable broth (if you have neither, see below)
  • 23 cups veggies (this is cabbage, carrots, turnips, radish, cauliflower, fennel, red pepper) can make on the lower side if you have more water in the veggies (ie cabbage and carrots)
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 12 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp seaweed (like kombu) can omit
  • 1/2 cup of barley – you can use a gluten free option like quinoa
  • organic miso
  • 1 cup bok choy
  • 1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms
  • salt
  • pepper
  • black sesame seeds (optional)
  • Gochujang sauce (optional)


  1. Combine all the ingredients into an instant pot or on stove top. 
  2. Bring everything to boil with “sauté function” in the instapot then cook for 5 min – turn down to slow cook on high function and let it cook for 30-60 min with glass lid on. This is how I use the instapot to have higher heat cooking. 
  3. You could also start this in the morning in the regular slow cooker function before leaving for work and come home to a warm and nourishing soup.
  4. Mix in 1 tsp of organic miso per bowl at the end of cooking.
  5. Sauté shiitake and baby bok choy for several minutes on low heat with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  6. Place on top of the veggie and barley soup. 
  7. Top with chili paste, black sesame seeds, olive oil, salt and pepper to your liking.


Miso has active cultures, so it is best to add it after cooking. You can put it into the bowl, take a little broth, and swirl it with chopsticks or a spoon to make a slurry. 

If you don’t have vegetable or mushroom broth, you can use the following method:

In the instant pot, add 6 cups of water and then add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp coriander, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 tbsp kombu seaweed, if you have it 1/2 tsp mushroom powder. You can add veggies scrapes that you have as well. Boil for 20 minutes and strain and use as broth. 

  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 60

Keywords: Vegan, Plantbased, wfpb, barley, miso, immunity, shiitake

Next, just click on the “Instacart” shopping link in the recipe and the app will let you pick the store and provide a basis for the shopping and ingredient list. It has worked great for us.

ALSO…. if you select the “pick up” option, which you can do on the way home from work, you may even have a small credit on your purchases for your next visit.

To sum up, if are a busy professional, look into Instacart as a way to eat healthier when your schedule is really busy as either a delivery or pick up option.

Earn CME

This experience is powered by CMEfy – an AI-powered platform that directs learners along a pathway to capture reflections at the point of inspiration, point of care. Clinicians may earn CME/CE credit via ReflectCE, the accredited activity portal. Learn more at

The CE experience for this Blog Post / Article is powered by CMEfy – click here to reflect and earn credits:

Kitchen Supplies

Having the right supplies makes being in the kitchen easier. Click below to explore some of my favorite gourmet supplies that are going to increase your wow factor on things you create.

Who am I??

Looking to make a positive change in your life and community? Dr. SiriChand is a board-certified physician in Internal Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Lifestyle Medicine, and Hospice/Palliative Medicine. Dr. Khalsa has dedicated her career to promoting long-term vitality through the choices we make every day. She is an expert in Ayurveda and plant-based nutrition. She particularly works with physicians to explore how to create time for self-care. Take the first step towards a healthier, happier future, and contact Dr. Siri Chand Khalsa today. In conclusion, let’s create a better world together through mindful living. Study Ayurveda with Dr. Khalsa. Learn more here.

Review recent seasonal PLANT-BASED posts here!

Thanks for checking out this week’s post to the end!

If you make this tag me on social media @doctorsirichand. I would love to see your variations and options for flavors. SAVE this Recipe to Your PINTEREST Board.

Dr. Siri Chand 


May your life be nourished and vital! 

*Please note as an amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases which means I will receive a small fee if you purchase them. I have only included things I truly use. This post is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. For my full Disclaimer, please go here.

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  1. Jan says:

    Can I use any mushroom?

    • Yes! Any mushroom could be ok though the shiitake have been reviewed for their immune benefits more extensively. But any mushroom that appeals to you could work fine. Dried mushrooms are ok too.


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By joining, you'll get this exclusive ebook for free and be added to our newsletter. You can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy. 

Plant focused recipes that are oriented to bring you to a deeper relationship to spices and flavor. Recipes I make every week. 

Get your spice cabinet together in this new found joy of cooking where you may need a few new spices and herbs for your meals. 

Recipes that we are always asked for. Like walking or brushing our teeth, these recipes nourish us everyday.