Onion-Barley Matzo Ball Soup

A hearty vegetarian version of traditional matzo ball soup modified from an onion and mushroom soup recipe that my mother used to make when I was a kid.

Onion-barley matzoh ball soup photo by Jackie Alpers
Onion-Barley Matzoh Ball Soup Recipe
I'm craving soup. Here's a hearty vegetarian version of traditional matzoh ball soup. I modified it from an onion/mushroom soup recipe that my mother used to make when I was a kid.


For the matzoh balls:

  • 1 packet matzoh ball mix - I use Manischewitz
  • 2 T black truffle oil olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. onion flakes
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs or 1/2 cup egg substitute

For the soup base:

  • 1 large onion chopped fine
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 cup red wine - always cook with wine that you would drink yourself. In fact have some now!
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms - any variety.
  • 1 box prepared vegetable broth - preferably organic
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 T herbes de provence
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. spicy Mrs. Dash
  • 1/2 cup organic barley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Meat option: If you want to add meat feel free to add a cup of shredded cooked chicken when you add the matzoh balls to the soup.


  • Coat the bottom of a large french over or stock pot with the olive oil. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook over medium low heat until
  • the carrots are soft and the onions start to brown - about 12 minutes.
  • While the vegetables are cooking, make the matzoh ball mix according to the directions on the box.
  • I like to substitute black truffle oil for the vegetable oil, and egg substitute for whole eggs. Add the onion flakes and pepper. Mix well and refrigerate.
  • Add the mushrooms, wine & herbes de provence and continue cooking until the wine has absorbed into the vegetables.
  • When the wine has absorbed, add the vegetable broth, water, tomato paste, cayenne and Mrs. Dash. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the barley to the boiling water, stir.
  • Remove the matzoh ball mix from the fridge. Wet your hands so the mix doesn't stick to them, and form the mixture into 1 inch balls.
  • Plop the balls into the boiling water. The water MUST be boiling or the matzoh balls will be hard in the middle.
  • Cover the pot and reduce heat to medium/high so that it doesn't boil over.
  • Cook for 30 minutes or until the barley is soft. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve two matzoh balls per person. Top each bowl with Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Enjoy!
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Jewish/American/Deli
Keyword cold soup recipe, Jackie Alpers, jewish food, matzo ball soup recipe, onion barley matzo ball soup recipe, vegetarian matzoh ball soup recipe, vegetarian soup recipe

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