Vegetable Barley Soup {Inspired by Panera Bread}

Growing up in California had its advantages.  I saw the beach at least once a year, didn’t have to learn how to drive in the snow, and inherited that eloquent valley girl slang that everyone loves so dearly.  Like, totally.  I also enjoyed the limitless and diverse restaurants that my surrounding area had to offer.

When I return for a visit, as much as I love my mom’s cooking, you can bet I’ll be eating out as much as I can to get my fill of my favorite restaurants.

All my boys and I drove down to California for Thanksgiving and, while most of the vacation was dedicated to hearty family meals, I did sneak in a visit to the local Panera Bread.  Since we don’t have one near me {yet} I always try to stop to see what new things they have on the menu and for a treat or two or five.

Seriously. Yum.

When I’ve gone in the past I’ve always enjoyed their sandwiches and salads but never ordered their soups.  With the weather colder it seemed the perfect time to try some.  Plus, they had a couple tasty new ones that sounded delish.  And with a slogan like “good goes in” I suspected it would be a good gamble.

I’m not usually a gambling woman but I’d bet you’d like their soup.  The menu changes daily so be sure to their menu.  I ordered a hearty Sonoma Chicken Stew and a half of a veggie sandwich from their You Pick 2 Menu.  Then added a treat on for $0.99.  Can’t possibly pass that up!  My sister ordered a salad while my mom stuck with a classic French Onion soup.

I’ve always enjoyed a good cup of soup and was reminded of that during lunch.  More often than not I disregard soup as a meal forgetting how easy it is to make and how filling it really is.  I went back home with a new resolve to try to make soup more often, especially considering I won’t be back in California for a while which means no Panera.

With a motto like “Good Goes In” it was easy for me to get inspired to make this Vegetable Barley Soup.  I consider it a “clean out your fridge” kinda soup because you can put almost any vegetable in it that you want.  It also comes together quickly so it makes a great last minute meal.


Disclosure: As part of the Daily Buzz Food Tastemaker Program I was selected to participate in this campaign.  I was compensated for my time.  My opinions and experiences are my own.


  1. Love a hearty and good soup. After seeing all these Panera posts, I am craving them for lunch!!

  2. I adore panera! I just got one right down the road and have been spending way too much time there! Did you try the iced green tea?

  3. ohh!! yours looks incredible!! 🙂

  4. i started off making the vegetable barley soup and swore i was going to stick to the recipe. i love veg barley soup! these things have a way of taking on a life of their own and then it turned into ‘ what-else-can-i-put-in-the-pot-soup’…
    i added a couple potatoes and frozen sweet corn more italian spices, roasted garlic, veg bouillon instead of beef …. and then i made a loaf of pesto bread. 🙂
    i wish i could tell you how good the recipe is but i strayed so far off all i can say is… thank you for the inspiration!

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