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Barley Lentil Soup Recipe

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This Barley Lentil Soup recipe is a cozy, hearty and meatless meal filled with delicious smokey flavor and rich with nutrients, protein and fiber. It’s healthy fall and winter coziness in a bowl. And I promise, it will warm up your toes.

Side view of Barley Lentil Soup in a blue bowl

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This soup is a meal all on its own. And so incredibly wholesome and satisfying!

When the season’s change and the air cools, I crave soup of every kind. From classic chicken noodle soup to curries, lentils, and mushrooms. Minestrone and potato soups are a constant and often Instant Pot soups become quick lunches in my world.

I’m not sure what it is about soup… but it’s soul satisfying!

Are Lentils Healthy?

Often referred to as a “secret superfood,” it’s been noted in the San Francisco Chronicle, that a diet rich in lentils and other pulses can reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

While lentils come in a variety of colors, you may wonder which one is the healthiest. I’ve written more about the health benefits of lentils in my Curry Lentil Soup recipe, but here is a quick guide to the healthiest lentils according to Cooking Light:

  • Black Lentils: Considered the healthiest lentil with full-bodied flavor similar to black beans. And they contain anthocyanin, an antioxidant usually found in purple and blue foods.
  • Red and Yellow Lentils: Next in line to black lentils, these are mild and sweet lentils, often found in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes. perfect for thickening soups, purees, and stews.
  • Brown Lentils: These lentils hold their shape in cooking and have a mild, earthy flavor. Very versatile, they can be used in everything from soup to veggie burgers. They also contain protein amount near black lentils.
Top view of Barley Lentil Soup ingredients on a round wood board

Barley Lentil Soup Recipe Ingredients

These simple, healthy ingredients when combined, create a delicious bowl of healthy and hearty soup. The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • Olive oil for sautéing the vegetables
  • Aromatic vegetables: onion, carrots, and garlic cloves
  • Seasoning: Ground cumin and a cinnamon stick seasons the pot and brown sugar helps elevate the flavors
  • Dried lentils
  • Dried Pearl barley
  • Vegetable broth combined with water: You can also substitute chicken broth if you prefer
  • Canned diced tomatoes: Use fire-roasted tomatoes if you like additional heat
  • Swiss chard: Use both the green and red or white parts. You can also substitute any green you prefer like kale, spinach, mustard greens, etc.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Top view of Lentil Barley Soup in a Dutch Oven

How to Make Barley Lentil Soup

This soup is incredibly easy to make. With limited chopping needed, the soup almost cooks itself. It’s hands-off cooking in the easiest way.

Detailed, step-by-step instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, but here’s an overview:

  1. Cook onions and carrots in a Dutch oven until softened. Add garlic and cumin and cook for another minute.
  2. Stir in lentils, broth, tomatoes, and remaining spices; bring the soup to a boil.
  3. Reduce to a simmer and add barley. Cover and cook about 1 hour.
  4. Stir in the greens, cover and cook until tender.

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Lentil Barley Soup in a blue bowl with sourdough olive oil bread in the background
Side view of Barley Lentil Soup in a blue bowl

Barley Lentil Soup

Barley Lentil Soup is a cozy, hearty and meatless meal filled with delicious smokey flavor and rich with nutrients, protein and fiber. It's healthy fall and winter coziness in a bowl. And I promise, it will warm up your toes.
4.6 from 15 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 servings



  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups onion chopped (about 1 medium)
  • 2 cups carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup dried lentils rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 15-ounce canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup dry barley
  • 3 cups Swiss chard chopped (or other green like kale or spinach)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven and add onion and carrots; cook until the vegetables begin to soften. Add garlic and cumin and cook for another minute.
  • Stir in lentils, broth, tomatoes, brown sugar and cinnamon stick; bring the soup to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and add barley. Cover and cook for about 60 minutes, or until the barley is tender.
  • Stir in the chard, cover, and cook until tender; about 5 minutes. Add parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.


YouTube video


Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 60mg | Potassium: 509mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 6192IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Tried this recipe? Pin it Today!Follow me on Pinterest for more and use the "Pin" button at the top of the recipe card.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Lentil Soup, Lentil Soup Recipe, Barley Soup, Lentil Barley Soup


  1. Do you have a recommendation for using an Instant Pot for this recipe? I’m guessing it would be fairly easy to convert to an Instant Pot but I’m actually new to the Instant Pot world and still learning.

    1. Hi Rose! You can definitely make this in the Instant Pot. Sauté the onion and carrot until soft, and then add the garlic. Once softened and fragrant, turn on the sauté function and add the remaining ingredients to the pot, except for the greens. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes and then naturally release the pressure. I like to add the greens after the soup has cooked for best color and texture. You can either let it set until the greens have wilted or switch to the sauté function, stir them in and cook until wilted. Hope you enjoy it!

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