Chicken and barley soup

This meal in one is flavourful, wholesome and filling enough that you won’t even need to eat it with bread. The barley and veggies provide enough carbohydrates for the meal.

Ready in

1 hour 45 mins

Serving size

Serves 4


  • 4 tsp (20 ml) olive or canola oil
  • 3 chicken breasts on the bone, skin and fat removed
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
  • 4 baby marrows, chopped
  • 8 cups (2 litres) strong Rooibos tea
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • 5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup (250 ml) uncooked barley
  • ¼ tsp (1,2 ml) salt
  • lemon juice and black pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) chopped fresh parsley


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot and fry chicken until brown. Spoon out.
  2. In the same pot, fry onions, carrots, celery and baby marrows until brown.
  3. Add chicken, tea, water, rosemary, bay leaves, barley and salt. Reduce the heat. Simmer with a lid for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
  4. Spoon out the chicken. Cook the soup for about 40-45 minutes or until the barely is soft.
  5. Meanwhile, debone chicken and shred the meat. Add back to the soup once the barley is cooked. Season well with lemon juice and pepper.
  6. Stir in the parsley and serve hot.
  7. Serve this soup on its own and don’t be tempted to make bread part of this meal. The barely has enough carbs to make it filling. Rather bulk up by adding more green veggies to the soup if preferred – broccoli or spinach will be delicious.


  1. Avocado is also delicious served with this soup.

Nutritional information per portion


2086 kJ


47,3 g


9,7 g


41,9 g


0,6 g

Chicken and barley soup

This soup is so versatile, make it as is with barley or use bulgar wheat instead.

Chicken and barley soup

This recipe is from Cooking from the heart, 3rd edition: Diabetes

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