Beef Vegetable Soup 

This Beef Vegetable Soup with Job's Tears is a hearty soup I made when we first began to add small amounts of animal foods back into our diet after five plus years of not eating any at all.  

We have not been consuming grains in any form since, however, for those who may also be transitioning away from plant-based vegan or vegetarian diets, this soup can be enjoyed either with barley, or by substituting the grain with a little sweet or red skin potato, or just more meat!

In traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM, red meat is used to help build the blood and qi, largely because red meat is a good source of bioavailable iron.  

Many women, young and old, are taking a pass on any form of red meat.  I believe this is to our peril, especially as we age.  Red meat is an excellent source of B vitamins, iron, and amino acids, including carnitine, all of which are important for maintaining our bones, immunity and overall health.  I have outlined symptoms of blood deficiency from a TCM perspective, below.

Job's Tears (also called Yi Yi Ren in TCM) has a slightly cool nature and is great for helping eliminate excess dampness in the system leading to conditions like edema, or painful joints that are worse in damp weather.  It can help clear out excess heat as well.  You can find it here, or at a local Asian market.

Beef Vegetable Soup with Barley is especially good on a cold winter day, or when you feel your energy is lagging a bit.

Hearty Beef Vegetable Soup Recipe Variations 


  • 1-2 pounds of beef shank, stew meat, or cut up roast beef (see variations below)

If using beef shank:  

  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar, or other flavored vinegar, or 1/2 a lemon ~ the acid helps pull out minerals from the bone
  • 1 5-6 inch piece of kelp or kombu seaweed (optional)
  • 1-2 bay leaves & 5-6 whole peppercorns
  • Water 

If using barley: 

  • 1/2 cup barley, cooked in 1.5-2 cups of water 

For the Beef Vegetable Soup:

  • 1 tbsp. butter and/or butter + olive oil, ghee, or tallow
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 carrots, chopped, including the leaves
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound of mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2-1 parsnip, chopped
  • 1 tsp. each oregano and dried thyme (or whatever you like)
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Water and/or Beef Bone Broth

If not using barley:

  • Sub barley with any of the following: 1 small sweet potato, 2-3 red skin potatoes, 1 small russet, 1 rutabaga,  OR well chopped cauliflower florets OR add more parsnip, or mushrooms
  • Skip all of the above, and add more meat!


  1. Place beef shank bone and meat into a pot with enough bone broth and/or water to cover by an inch or two.  Add vinegar.  Bring up to a gentle simmer with lid slightly ajar.

  2. Add the optional seaweed, bay leaf, and peppercorns.   Let simmer a few hours or all day.  When ready, remove the bone, and cut meat into bite-sized pieces.

  3. Meanwhile cook barley in three times, or a bit more, of water.  Bring to a boil, add 1/2 tsp. sea salt,  reduce to low, cover and cook until barley is tender.  (Or see the variation, below.)

  4. Heat a separate soup pot, and add oil or butter.  Sauté the vegetables and garlic.  Add oregano and thyme, and season with sea salt and pepper.  Cook vegetables until tender-crisp.

  5. Add the beef to the pot of vegetables.  Cover with the broth, saving any remaining for another soup.  

  6. Add up to 1 cup of barley.  Let it all simmer for 10-20 minutes.
  7. Do a taste test, and adjust seasonings as needed.

We make a pot of pressure-cooked bone broth from saved bones once every couple weeks. Bone broth is a great source of minerals, collagen, and protein, all of which are especially good for our hair, skin, nails, and joints.

Beef Vegetable Soup Variations without Barley

If you already have beef bone broth prepared, you can make a beef vegetable soup pretty quickly by just sautéing whatever vegetables and seasonings you want to use in fat of choice, then add beef and broth, and let it simmer on low for 1-2 hours.

As an alternative to using beef shank, you could use already cut up stew meat.  

For an even quicker beef vegetable soup, plan to make a slow-roast beef over the weekend.  Cut up some of the beef once roasted into 1/2 - 1 inch chunks, then add to the pot of vegetables with the bone broth, and let the entire soup simmer for about 1/2 hour, or more if desired on a low heat.

Add peeled sweet or red skin potatoes, or chopped rutabaga, parsnip, or even chopped cauliflower in lieu of the barley.  Saute the vegetables in butter, ghee, or tallow as above, then add beef and broth, and let simmer until vegetables and meat are tender.

Hearty, chewy & nutritious Beef Vegetable Soup w/ Jobs Tears or Barley will boost your qi, and fill you up. See variations for those wanting a lower-carb or grain-free alternative.

Prefer chicken or turkey?  Both are good alternatives to the beef.  Prepare in the  Bone Broth made with chicken and/or turkey bones.  

Or try the Chicken Vegetable Soup, also great on a chilly day!

In our previous books, Essential Macrobiotics, by Don Matesz, and my book, The Macrobiotic Action Plan, (now available as FREE e-books) we recommended for people to keep animal food consumption to no more than 10-15% of their total calories for the best health results.  

Our personal experience, and more current research caused us to make changes to our diet.  We now consume a Keto-Hypercarnivore Diet, getting 70% or more of our total calories from animal foods.  

We also by and large recommend avoiding or greatly minimizing grains in all forms, but especially refined grains and flours found in the bulk of processed foods.

Each person will need to discover what works best, based on their current condition, general constitution, geographic location, and ancestral heritage.  

Generally speaking, we recommend a high-protein ketogenic diet modified for individual needs.  

Roasted Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts & Vegetable Medley served w/ the Beef Vegetable Soup w/ Barley

Going without any animal foods for any length of time (as we did for over five years) has been shown in some studies to result in certain nutrient deficiencies (which we definitely had.)

Zinc is one such mineral and antioxidant, which is important for immunity, wound healing, healthy skin, and libido that is more bioavailable from animal foods than plant foods.  B 12 is also a very important vitamin to supplement if not including animal foods in the diet.  

Deficiency of B 12 can lead to anemia, and long-term deficiency can cause fatigue, lightheadedness, palpitations or shortness of breath, depression, nerve problems, pale skin, and memory or vision loss.  

All of these symptoms are similar to those of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis of blood deficiency.  You can read more here.

If you have a history of anemia, or blood deficiency as defined by TCM (outlined below), you may want to consider adding a little back into the diet to ensure against unnecessary health issues resulting from deficiencies.  

The signs of blood deficiency from a TCM  perspective include any of the following:

  • Ongoing fatigue, needing caffeine to get going
  • Low levels of motivation
  • Difficulty getting good quality deep sleep, or remaining asleep through the night
  • Higher than normal level of anxiety, or low depressed moods 
  • Pale pink nails, and pale under the lower eyelids
  • Dry hair and skin
  • Palpitations, or occasional shortness of breath

This may not actually register as a low iron count on a standard blood test. 

You may also like either of these soups, a couple more hold outs from my previous vegan meal plans.

 (Note: These recipes are getting updated and will be republished as soon as possible.)

Easy Creamy Broccoli Soup
Creamy Cauliflower Soup

>Welcome/Home page  >Low-Carb Recipe Guide  

>Beef Vegetable Soup with Barley

>Bone Broth ~ Basic Recipe Made w/ Chicken &/or Turkey Bones

>Pressure-Cooked Beef Bone Broth