Warm oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté until they release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add barley, oregano and thyme and stir 1 minute.
Add chicken broth and 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer until barley is tender, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
This is a very good healthy soup. The other review stated there was not any broth left, they might not have added the 3 cups of water that is in the instructions. Mine came out great with plenty of broth. I used baby portabello mushrooms and fresh herbs. For meat lovers some cooked chicken breast could be added.
I followed the recipe instructions and it ended up looking more like risotto than soup. All the liquid was absorbed by the barley before the barley was nice and cooked. I thought it tasted very good but for some reason when I took it out of the fridge to take to work for lunch, I remember thinking 'I wish I had something else to take' but then once I had put it in my mouth and swallowed it, then it was ok and I enjoyed eating it.
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