Lentil and Barley Soup

The autumnal recipes continue

I've been taking a break from events and happenings in the Queen City to spend a little R&R at home. More importantly, I decided that the recent cold snap prompted the start of soup season (insert celebratory musical sounds here). However, because I am too cheap to go to the store and wanted to force myself to use what I had on hand, I was definitely going to be experiencing a frugal soup adventure. Enter the lentils and barley I found in the back of my pantry. I think they may have come from Lynchburg … like over a year ago … stop judging me. 

Now listen, I'm not one to snub meat and fresh veggies and all the other accoutrements that make up an amazing soup — BUT I also wanted to use what I had on hand. Most of these ingredients are pantry staples, and if you don't have them on hand, you can get them for next to nothing. I kind of, sort of, made this up and I must say, I think the finished product is pretty darn good. Note: For leftovers, you may need to add a little extra chicken broth or water since the grains will continue to absorb any liquid when reheating. This soup also freezes very well.

Lentil and Barley soup

  • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 3 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 1 cup barley
  • 8-9 cups chicken or vegetable broth (add more if necessary)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked off
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsps garam masala 
  • 2 tbsps cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley for garnish (optional)


Heat olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the garlic, celery, carrots and onion and saute over medium-high heat until veggies are soft and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Cover the pot and simmer over medium heat for about 30-45 minutes, stirring occassionally to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom. Add more liquid if necessary or if you prefer a thinner soup. Soup is done when lentils and barley are tender. Serve this up with some sliced ciabatta bread and sprinkled with a little fresh parsley. 

Enjoy this autumnal delight. If it gets warm again and soup season has to be put on haitus, I'm going to freak out. 

Categories: Dine & Dish, Food + Drink