Root Vegetable Barley Soup with Winter’s Galactic Star

Root Vegetable Barley Soup with Winter’s Galactic StarRoot Vegetable Barley Soup – No Galactic Battle Here,
Simply Comfort & Joy in a Bowl

With Star Wars on so many minds and movie screens, it’s easy to imagine this odd-looking object as an alien planet. “Perhaps it’s Coruscant, a big deal in the Star Wars universe,” wrote my son-in-law Peter. But fortunately, it’s not. This winter galactic star goes by the name celeriac, aka celery root. Root Vegetable Barley Soup with Winter’s Galactic StarWith its firm, white flesh and delicate celery and parsley-like flavor, celeriac, once peeled, can be eaten raw or cooked. Versatile celeriac makes Root Vegetable Barley Soup especially soothing and flavorful.

There’s no galactic battle taking place in this potage. Instead a team effort takes place in the soup pot. The harmonious blend of creamy barley, mild celeriac, sweet parsnips, colorful rutabagas and silken fresh spinach in a well-flavored and full-bodied vegetable broth creates comfort and joy in a bowl.

Enjoy Root Vegetable Barley Soup as a delicious, healthy and nurturing antidote to December’s rich holiday fare. Or, perhaps, as a calming tonic after watching any of the heart-pounding, adrenaline-pumping Star Wars’ adventures.

Nordic gold

Root Vegetable Barley Soup with Winter’s Galactic StarCeleriac, along with parsnips, rutabagas and onions share the root vegetable spotlight in Root Vegetable Barley soup.

Trina Hahnemann, Danish chef and author, describes root vegetables as the “gold of Nordic soil.” These nutrient-rich vegetables, that also include carrots, potatoes, turnips, radishes and beets, not only grow well in cold climates, but also store well during the winter months.

How to choose and prepare celeriac

The freshest celeriac still has some of its green top attached. Without its top, choose a firm root that feels heavy for its size. Leave behind those that are dry or wrinkled or have dark brown spots on their skin. The smoother the skin the easier it will be to peel.

Preparation tips:
  • Root Vegetable Barley Soup with Winter’s Galactic StarRinse and brush off any excess dirt.
  • Slice off a thin section from both the bottom and top.
  • Peel with a vegetable peeler.
  • Rinse in cool water to remove any remaining dirt or debris.
  • Cut as directed in your recipe.

Root Vegetable Barley Soup with Winter’s Galactic Star

Root Vegetable Barley Soup

Inspired by and adapted from a Nordic recipe from Trina Hahnemann in Food and Wine Magazine. Trina suggests serving this Scandinavian soup with hearty rye bread.
Remember to add the dark green leek leaves along with the parsnip and celeriac peels to your homemade stock.

Makes 11 cups                                                      Printer-Friendly Recipe
Total time: 2 hours including 1 hour to prepare homemade stock


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced (2 cups)
2-3 leeks, white and tender, light green sections only, thinly sliced, 2 ½ cups
2 medium cloves garlic, crushed
2/3 cup pearled barley, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon salt
9 twists freshly ground pepper
8 ½ cups homemade vegetable stock* or low-sodium prepared vegetable stockRoot Vegetable Barley Soup with Winter’s Galactic Star
7 fresh thyme sprigs or 4 dry
2 bay leaves
½ pound rutabagas, peeled, ½ inch dice (1 ½ cups)
¾ pound celeriac, peeled, ½ inch dice (3 ¼ cups)
½ pound parsnips, peeled, ½ inch dice (1 ½ cups)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
5 ounces baby spinach
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg to taste.

  1. Root Vegetable Barley Soup with Winter’s Galactic StarHeat the oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Stir in the onion. Cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the sliced leeks and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir in the drained barley and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.Root Vegetable Barley Soup with Winter’s Galactic Star
  4. Add the stock, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat so the soup simmers.
  5. Stir in the rutabagas. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat so the soup simmers. Partially cover the pot. Cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Stir in the celeriac and parsnips. Partially cover the pot. Simmer the soup for about 35 minutes until the barley and Root Vegetable Barley Soup with Winter’s Galactic Starvegetables are tender.
  7. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Use an immersion blender or a regular blender to puree about 1/4th of the soup.
  8. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Just before serving stir in the baby spinach and freshly grated nutmeg.

*After my vegetable stock was made, I dissolved 1 Tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Organic Vegetable Base into 8 ½ cups of stock to boost its flavor.

Printer-Friendly Recipe.

2 thoughts on “Root Vegetable Barley Soup with Winter’s Galactic Star

  1. Hi Janice and Happy Holidays
    We are winding up our trip in India with a week long Ayurvedic cleanse and soup has been recommended as my best food choice for the season. Having altered my familiar diet quite a bit here with rich, delicious masala sauces and more than enough naan, we are now enjoying the return to simple Sattvic food. I am looking forward to returning to winter after these lovely, hot tropical beach days and cooking up my own nutritious meals. I miss my kitchen! This soup recipe is calling my name! Thanks so much. I will be diving into your blog as I develop my art of soup. See you soon. Home on the 30th to enjoy the start of the new year.
    With love – Nancy

    • Such a perfect conclusion to your incredible journey. Wishing you both a wonderful holiday and healthy and delicious New Year. I look forward to hearing your stories and sharing some Sattvic foods with you.

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