Comforting Chicken-Less Soup

Back when my family ate meat, one of my daughter's favorite meals was a simple chicken soup loaded with grains and vegetables.

When our family transitioned to a fully plant-based diet, I knew I had to reinvent this classic for her. I felt like I hit the jackpot when I found vegan no-chicken broth! My little girl — and hubby — slurped up this soup.

Comforting Chicken-less Soup

Recipe by Tram Le, MS, RD


  • ⅓ cup dry wild rice
  • 3 cups water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound mushrooms (cremini, button or king), roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, plus more sprigs for serving
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper, plus more for serving
  • 32 ounces vegetarian no-chicken broth
  • ¼ cup dry quick-cooking barley
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons vegan fish sauce


  1. Place wild rice and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer on medium-low heat while you prepare the rest of the soup.
  2. In a 5-quart French oven, add olive oil over medium heat. When oil is shimmering and hot, add the carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften.
  3. Add broth, remaining 2 cups water, barley and cooked wild rice (and any remaining cooking water from rice). Stir soup and turn heat to medium-high.
  4. When soup begins to boil, lower heat to low and place lid on the pot. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until wild rice and barley are tender.
  5. Stir in vegan fish sauce, adjust seasonings and serve with black pepper and fresh thyme sprigs. Serves 8.

Cooking Note

  • Vegan fish sauce can be found at some Asian grocery stores. However, you can substitute low-sodium soy sauce instead.
Tram Le on FacebookTram Le on Pinterest
Tram Le
Tram Le, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian living in Annapolis. Read her blog, This Veg Life, and follow her on Facebook and Pinterest.