Clean Eating Beef & Barley Soup

Beef Stew is one of my husband's favorite meals!  When it is cold outside, he asks me to make it for him all the time.  Usually I just sort of throw random ingredients together until everything tastes good, but this time I wrote down my ingredients so I could put it in a recipe post for you guys.  This soup has a tomato-base to it and the barley makes it nice and thick.  If you prefer, you could use potatoes instead of barley.  I have tried using sweet potatoes before and those do not taste good in this recipe.  Instead, stick with yukon gold or red potatoes cut into bite sized chunks.

-1.5 lbs Beef Stew Meat (I usually get top round and just cut it into bite size pieces).  Sometimes when you buy stew meat at the grocery store you still need to cut it into smaller pieces.  I bought the meat in this picture at Costco and it was enough for a triple batch.
-1 large red onion, chopped
-Appx 8 medium sized carrots, peeled and sliced
-3-4 stalks of celery, sliced
-1.5 cups frozen corn (or you could use a 14.5 ounce can of canned corn)
-1 tsp parsley flakes
-1/4 tsp black pepper
-1.5 Tbsp "Better Than Bouillon" paste or 3 cubes of beef bouillon (can add more to taste if you like)
-3 garlic cloves minced
-1 14.5 ounce can tomato sauce
-3/4 cup barley (pearled)
-5 cups water

(This picture ^^ includes ingredients for a triple batch, but I accidentally left out a few ingredients from the picture (one of the tomato sauce cans, corn, etc) and didn't use near that many carrots or celery.  So, this isn't an exact guide of what you will use, but more of a general idea)  🙂

This recipe is really simple to make!  All you do is throw all your ingredients in the crockpot and cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.

If Making As Freezer Meal:
When I made this as a freezer meal, I put all the ingredients in except for the 5 cups of water.  On the outside of the bag I just wrote the date, the name of the meal, and "add 5 cups water".  Make sure to push out any extra air in the bag to avoid freezer burn.  The day before you want to make this meal take it out of the freezer and allow to defrost in your fridge.  The morning/afternoon you want to eat the meal for dinner just put everything in your crockpot, add 5 cups water, and cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.

This will make extras - I just put my extras in a tupperware container and eat for lunch during the rest of the week.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!! If you decide to make it, leave a comment and let me know what you think!  I love hearing feedback!


  1. How long would you cook this on the stove, if not using a crocpot?

    • Hey Lauren! If you cook it on the stovetop (that’s how I did it this week), I would sear the meat first by just cooking it for a few minutes (5-6) so that all sides are lightly seared with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then I would add everything else and bring it to a slow boil for maybe 15-20 minutes or so. You can let it simmer for longer then that and the flavors will continue to develop.

      • Another question!!! To excluded the barley & use red potatoes, how many would you use? I love this recipe but need to make it Whole 30 approved! 🙂

  2. I made this last night and my husband and I love it! I’m from Louisiana so I added Tony Cachere’s and it was delish. Thanks Natalie!

    • Awesome! I’m so glad you liked it! Thanks for commenting Julia and letting me know 🙂 I’m so bummed because when we transferred my website over to the new format, I lost all my blog comments and this one had 150+ comments. Oh well. I bet the Tony Cachere’s made it taste great! We live in SE Texas (Beaumont) and I’ve learned to really love cajun cooking since moving here.

  3. Do you know what the serving size and approximate calories are per serving?

  4. This may seem like a silly question but as a freezer meal do put all the raw ingredients in the bag raw and then freeze or do you cook it first and then freeze. Thanks!

  5. Thank you so much for this recipe! I found it on Pinterest. We made it yesterday during our snow day and it was AMAZING! The hubs liked it so much he put it on the keeper list lol!

  6. Hi just wondering if above ingredients are for single or triple portion. Thanks in advance.

  7. Do you brown the beef before adding it to the croc pot?!

  8. I made this yesterday and it didn’t go well at all! I only used half an onion and 2 1/2 stalks of celery. I decided to cook it on low and it cooked for 6 hours and I checked it and the carrots were still hard so I turned the heat on high and had to cook it for 2 more hours to get the carrots done, and they were chopped pretty small. My house stunk of onion the whole time and I was so afraid that it would end up having too strong of an onion taste and it did. Onion is all you can taste and I only used half of the red onion. It also ended up turning into more of a stew since it cooked for so long. I’m so dissapointed because it’s unetable and has to be thrown out. If I had just omitted the onion it would’ve turned out so much better. Or maybe if I had used some yellow onion instead, I never cook with red onions so I didn’t know it would be so overpowering

  9. I love this recipe! I make it as a freezer meal and it never disappoints! So yummy with some bread and butter. Thanks for sharing. 🙂


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