Real Meals Modified

Level 2: Mildly Thick Hearty Beef Barley Soup

Hearty Beef Barley Soup

This Level 2: Mildly Thick Hearty Beef Barley Soup will fit your dysphagia needs and fill you up! Meat, grains, vegetables…this soup really has it all.

Hearty Beef Barley Soup

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Level 2: Mildly Thick

Level 2: Mildly Thick is appropriate for individuals who need drinks to flow more slowly, or may have slightly reduced tongue control. These foods flow quickly off a spoon but require mild effort to drink through a standard straw. Foods are tested using the Flow Test at this level.

The IDDSI Flow Test is a standardized test for determining the level of a liquid sample. You must have a 10ml syringe for this test, and not all syringes are created equal. Hold a ruler up to your syringe and the distance from the very bottom line to the 10ml mark must measure 61.5 mm. We recommend watching IDDSI’s Youtube video of the Flow Test as well as this comparison between Levels 1-3 before you cook as well as during the testing of your final modified portion.

Always test your food before serving to ensure that it meets all the IDDSI testing guidelines.

Textures Are Critical

I want to share my experiences about when I was creating this recipe. I had to try this recipe a couple of different times before it blended into a consistency I liked. Let me explain why. 

Beef barley soup is a classic combination. So a key component to this recipe was….you guessed it. Barley (and beef of course!). The first time I made this recipe, I didn’t like the outcome of the blended soup. It was a bit gummy and the texture wasn’t completely smooth, even after I ran it through a fine mesh sieve. This was definitely because of the barley.

So I increased the amount of liquid and reduced the amount of barley and tried again. After more trialing, I was finally happy with the outcome. That being said, it’s still going to be very important for you to run this soup through a fine mesh sieve. 

It’s crucial because it will catch any un-blended pieces of meat or vegetables, and it will also help to reduce the amount of gumminess from the barley. Once you do that, the barley actually adds a nice texture to the soup. I think it will be a good change of pace from most blended soups, because texture is one thing most people really miss when they are on a modified dysphagia diet. 

Thankfully, other than the actual blending, this recipe is really straight forward. I chopped up my onions, carrots, and celery into small bits. Yours don’t have to be as precise as mine because everything will be blended anyway. 

The meat that I used was actually meat that came off of boiled soup bones. If you have that, feel free to use it! Otherwise cooked beef pot roast is almost the exact same thing. It won’t change the texture or consistency at all. Here’s a picture of how big I cubed my meat.

Chopped Vegetables

Every. Single. Time. that I made this recipe, it came out as an IDDSI level 2. Across recipes, trials, and variations, it was always a level 2. You can be pretty confident that if you follow this recipe, you’ll get a nice IDDSI level 2: mildly thick. If you’re still unsure how to test the consistency of your blended soup, you can find more information here. You can also check out our get started page.

We hope you enjoy this recipe! It’s definitely a good example of a time when blended meat is very tolerable. In fact, it adds a really nice taste to the soup. It’s hearty and delicious!

Beef Barley Soup

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If you loved this recipe, check out our other Level 2: Mildly Thick recipes, or learn more about us!

Hearty Beef Barley Soup
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4.50 from 2 votes

Level 2: Mildly Thick Hearty Beef Barley Soup

This Level 2: Mildly Thick Hearty Beef Barley Soup will fit your dysphagia needs and fill you up! Meat, grains, vegetables...this soup really has it all.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Course: Soup
Keyword: mildly thick
Servings: 4



  • ½ large onion chopped
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 2 medium carrots chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic ,minced
  • 8 cup beef broth
  • 1 14-ounce can of whole tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cup leftover beef roast cubed
  • ½ cup uncooked barley
  • Salt & pepper


  • Cook barley according to package directions. Set aside.
  • In a large soup pot over medium heat, cook the onion, celery, and carrots in olive oil. Cook ~5 minutes, or until softened. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add in garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
  • Add in beef broth and canned tomatoes. Crush tomatoes with a wooden spoon so their juices release.
  • Add in the bay leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add in the cubed beef roast and allow to warm in the soup broth.
  • At the very end, remove the bay leaves and add in the cooked barley.
  • Blend using an immersion blender, or transfer to a large blender. Blend until smooth.
  • Pour the soup through a fine mesh sieve to remove any small bits.
  • Serve warm and enjoy!

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