Barley and Lentil Soup

Source: Cooking Matters

Serving size: 1 cup (474g)

Servings per recipe: 8 servings

Lentils add a filling, lean protein to this tasty, warming soup. Consider making extra to store in the fridge for up to 4 days. You may need to add extra liquid when you reheat.

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3 medium carrots

2 medium onions

3 large cloves garlic

4 cups fresh spinach

3/4 cup pearl barley

1 Tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon ground paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

6 cups water

4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup dried lentils

1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, no salt added

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Optional Ingredients: cup grated Parmesan cheese


Can opener Colander Cutting board Large pot with lid Measuring cups Measuring spoons Mixing spoon Sharp knife Vegetable peeler


1. Rinse, peel, and dice carrots and onions. Peel and mince garlic. Rinse and chop spinach.

2. In a colander, rinse barley with cold water.

3. In a large pot, add oil. Heat over medium-high heat. Add carrots and onions. Cook until slightly soft, about 5 minutes.

4. Add garlic, paprika, and cayenne pepper to pot. Stir and cook for 30 seconds.

5. Add barley, water, and broth to pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Partially cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes.

6. In a colander, rinse lentils with cold water. Add lentils to pot, along with tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

7. Add spinach to soup and stir. Cover and simmer for 5 more minutes.

8. Add salt and pepper and stir. If using Parmesan cheese, add now.


If soup is too thick, add extra liquid (water or broth) to your taste. Beans and grains continue to absorb water when stored in the fridge. When reheating leftover soup, add water or broth as needed. Use kale, chard, or collard greens in place of spinach, if you like. For a more filling and healthier soup, add more colorful veggies.

More About Spinach

How to Select

Choose fresh, crisp, green bunches with no evidence of insect damage.

How to Store

Remove blemished leaves, rinse, dry and refrigerate in a plastic bag with some air holes for use within 3-5 days. You can also blanch, cool, and freeze spinach in plastic bags.

How to Prepare

Rinse greens in cold water. Pat leaves between towels or use a salad spinner to dry leaves. Add to salads, wraps, pitas, and sandwiches. Steam, microwave, boil, sauté, stir-fry, braise, or purée. Add to casseroles, soups, dips, sauces, and pasta, rice, and egg dishes. Cook with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice.