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Kalyn's Kitchen

Ground Turkey and Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach

Ground Turkey and Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach is so delicious, and if you enjoy barley in soup you’re going to love this recipe! Use Soup Recipes to find more recipes like this one.

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Ground Turkey and Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach found on KalynsKitchen.com

I’m on a quest to prove that ground turkey doesn’t have to be boring, and this comforting and flavorful Ground Turkey and Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach was the latest recipe where I experimented with ground turkey as an ingredient. The soup also has lots of brown Crimini mushrooms and chopped spinach, two ingredients I really like with barley.

The final ingredient that helps the ground turkey to shine is mushroom stock, which I made using Better than Bouillon Mushroom Base. (Another brand I love is Telma Mushroom Cubes, but lately I can’t find those in my stores.) If you don’t want to buy mushroom base, you can still make this using all vegetable stock, but bumping up the mushroom flavor makes a big difference. Jake and I both loved this definitely-not-boring ground turkey soup, and I shared the leftovers with my friend Robin, who also gave it two thumbs up.

I always like to give credit to other recipes that inspire me, but frequently I see an idea in a book or on a blog and then I change just about everything for the recipe I come up with. That’s what happened in this case, when I saw a recipe in the American Heart Association Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook for barley casserole and it turned into a soup with turkey and spinach, that was made on the stove! (I do like that cookbook a lot though if you’re looking for slow cooker ideas.)

Ground Turkey and Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach found on KalynsKitchen.com

Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a heavy dutch-oven type pan and saute the onions about 5 minutes; then add the garlic, thyme, poultry seasoning, and Spike Seasoning (if using) and saute about 2 minutes more. While the onions cook, wash the mushrooms and chop into medium-sized pieces. If you’re going to use the mushroom base, mix with hot water to dissolve.

When you finish cooking the onion mixture, add the mushrooms, vegetable stock, mushroom stock (or more vegetable stock), and barley, and let the mixture start to simmer. Heat the other 2 tsp. of oil in a heavy frying pan and brown the turkey, breaking it apart with the turner as it cooks. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

When the barley is starting to get tender (about 30 minutes) add the ground turkey and simmer about 20-30 minutes more. (You might want to add 1-2 cups of water as the barley cooks.) When the barley is done, add the chopped spinach and cook just until it’s wilted (5-10 minutes.) Stir in the lemon juice and serve hot. This is good with freshly grated Parmesan if you want it.

Ground Turkey and Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach found on KalynsKitchen.com

More Delicious Soups with Barley:

Porcini Soup with Barley ~ Sassy Radish
Mushroom Barley Soup with Ham and Leeks ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Split Pea and Barley Soup ~ Chick in the Kitchen
Barley Minestrone with Canadian Bacon, Savoy Cabbage, and Rosemary ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Spicy Barley Soup ~ Soup Chick

Weekend Food Prep:

This recipe has been added to a new category called Weekend Food Prep  to help you find recipes you can prep or cook on the weekend and eat during the week!

Ground Turkey and Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach

If you enjoy barley in soup, you’ll love this Ground Turkey and Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach.


  • 2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (optional)
  • 8-12 oz. brown Crimini mushrooms, chopped in medium-sized pieces
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (or use 2 14 oz. cans vegetable broth and 1/2 cup water)
  • 4 cups mushroom stock (I used Better than Bouillon Mushroom Base mixed with water; if you don’t want to buy mushroom base, use 4 cups more vegetable stock)
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chopped spinach (or more)
  • 2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • freshly grated Parmesan for serving (optional)


  1. Heat 2 tsp. oil in heavy dutch-oven type pan. Add the chopped onions and saute over high heat until the onions are softened and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
  2. Turn heat to medium, add garlic, thyme, poultry seasoning, and Spike Seasoning (if using) and saute 1-2 minutes more.
  3. While the onions cook, wash and chop the mushrooms and combine the Better than Bouillon Mushroom Base with water according to instructions on the label to make 4 cups.
  4. When onion mixture is sauteed, add the chopped mushrooms, vegetable stock, mushroom stock (or more vegetable stock), and barley, turn the heat to medium low, and and let the mixture simmer about 30 minutes or until the barley is starting to get tender.
  5. When barley is nearly tender, heat the other 2 tsp. oil in a large heavy frying pan and cook the ground turkey over medium-high heat until it’s nicely browned, breaking apart with a turner as it cooks. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  6. Add the meat to the soup pot and continue to cook 20-30 minutes more, until the barley is done. (You may need to add a cup or two of water.)
  7. Wash and chop the spinach. When the barley is tender, add the spinach and cook until it’s wilted, about 10 minutes.
  8. Stir in the fresh lemon juice and serve soup hot, with freshly grated Parmesan cheese to add at the table if desired.


This recipe was created by Kalyn with inspiration from a recipe for barley casserole in the American Heart Association Healthy Slow Cooker Cookbook.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Barley is a wonderful grain for low-glycemic diets, and as long as you use lean ground turkey (less than 10% fat), this Ground Turkey and Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach would be great for Phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet. (You could replace barley with brown rice to make a gluten-free version of this recipe.) This wouldn’t be suitable for a traditional low-carb diet plan.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into this nutrition analyzer, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.

Ground Turkey and Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach found on KalynsKitchen.com

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28 comments on “Ground Turkey and Barley Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach”

  1. Yummy recipe!! I substituted venison hamburg for ground turkey. I also sliced up 4 carrots & sauté with onions.

  2. So, if using for the FMD what are the portions to eat so that you meet the required phase based portion requirements

  3. Not much of a barley fan, so I used cauliflower rice instead, adding it at the end when dropping the spinach in.

  4. This is now one of our favorite recipes! It was so much better than I expected! Some red wine and crusty sour dough bread really elevated our meal. Definitely going on our list of staple recipes!

  5. I honestly don't remember how much mushroom base to water I used; I'd start with what it says on the package, heat it, and taste to see if you want it stronger. And I don't have any right now or I'd check for you to see what the package says.

  6. I have never been a fan of ground turkey but have stumbled on a couple of good recipes lately, and this one looks like another good candidate as I love barley. I just saw the Better Than Bouillion Mushroom base at my store this week and wondered what I might use it for. Now I know. Just one question: what was the water to mushroom base ratio you used for your mushroom broth?

  7. Melissa, so glad you have enjoyed the recipe!

  8. Me and my husband love this soup! I like to add celery and I use kale instead of spinach and it remains a little heartier. So delicious!

  9. Amber, I ate it for several days and thought it was great. Like any soup with barley, the barley kind of absorbs the liquid, so I added a little water when I reheated it. And I think soup tastes best when reheated on the stove personally, but you could microwave too.

  10. Does this soup keep well in the fridge? I am just worried about the spinach…

  11. Amy that sounds like a great sub for gluten free!

  12. Apparently it's Kalyn's Kitchen week at my house :)! This is my second recipe this week. Just whipped this up for dinner, but substituted wild rice for the barley because my husband is gluten free. I thought the wild rice would have a similar heartiness to the barley. I couldn't find the mushroom boullion (although they had every other flavor at my grocery store) so I used 1 box of vegetable broth and 1 of beef broth since mushrooms are so meaty. It is delicious. My husband loves mushroom soups and I had to keep him from eating it for lunch. I'll be on the lookout for that mushroom boullion.

  13. Doreen, love that you were able to adapt it to what you had (that's the sign of a good cook!)

    Thanks Alyssa!

  14. I love to use ground turkey Kalyn and think you are spot on about seasoning it well. This soup looks fantastic!

  15. I made this soup (mostly following your recipe) tonight and it's delicious! I didn't have vegetable broth or mushroom broth so I substituted chicken broth – and I didn't have poultry seasoning (or spike) so I used Adobo seasoning since I thought that was the spice I had that was most similar to poulty seasoning and I omitted the spike.

    Delicious! I'm sure it will taste even better tomorrow! Thanks for a great/healthy recipe!

  16. Thanks Donna! I consider that to be high praise.

  17. Lydia, glad you like it. And I'm sure *your* ground turkey recipes couldn't possibly be boring!

  18. So many things I love – all in one bowl. Your soups always make me want to run home and start simmering!

  19. Mushroom barley soup is one of my all-time favorites. Turkey escarole soup is another. I love this recipe that kind of brings those two soups together (subbing spinach for the escarole, but both dark leafy greens). I don't think ground turkey is boring at all. In fact, I cook something with it every single week.

  20. Thanks for the interesting recipe Kalyn. Soups are my favourite and this one has lots of stuff I like and it is fairly healthy.

  21. Tracy, use in any recipe where you want more mushroom flavor.

  22. I love the idea of the mushroom bullion! I was wondering what other things you can use it for?

  23. Thanks Jennifer. I think the secret is to season the dish well when you use turkey.

  24. This looks great! I've actually been using a lot of ground turkey recently. It definitely doesn't need to be boring.

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