Barley and Lentil Soup

148 Reviews
99% would make this recipe again

A very good soup which combines some lesser known ingredients: barley, lentils, and Swiss chard, which are tasty, rich in nutrients, and rather inexpensive.

Preparation : 15 min Cooking : 1 h
130 calories/serving
  • Can be done in advance
  • Can be frozen
  • Very easy
  • Lactose Free
  • Nuts & Peanuts Free
  • Halal
  • Kosher
  • Heart-healthy


1/2 cup green or brown lentils (dried) 90 g
1 onions, finely chopped 200 g
2 carrots, finely chopped 200 g
3 cups Swiss chard, or spinach, coarsely chopped and packed 280 g
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil 23 mL
1 tsp ground cumin 2 g
3 cups chicken broth 750 mL
3 cups water 750 mL
1/2 cup pearl barley 90 g
1 1/4 cup canned tomatoes (diced) 320 g
1 pinch salt [optional] 0.2 g
ground pepper to taste [optional]

Before you start

It is not necessary to soak the lentils in advance.


  1. Rinse and drain the lentils, then set aside.
  2. Prepare the vegetables: Finely chop the onion and carrots; coarsely chop the Swiss chard (green and white parts); and mince or press the garlic. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion then sauté 3-4 min until soft. Add the carrots, then sauté 5 min with occasional stirring, until they are golden-coloured. Add the garlic and stir 1 min, then add the cumin and stir 1 min. Pour in the broth, water and barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer 25 min.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes and lentils. Continue to simmer, covered, until the lentils and barley are tender, 25-30 min.
  5. Add the chard to the soup, cover and simmer until the chard is tender, about 5 min. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Thin the soup with more broth or water, if desired. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.


The soup keeps up to 7 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Nutrition Facts Table

per 1 serving (230 g)


% Daily Value




2 g

4 %

Saturated 0.3 g
+ Trans 0 g

2 %


0 mg


390 mg

16 %


23 g

8 %


4 g

14 %


3 g

Net Carbs

19 g


5 g

Vitamin A

86 %

Vitamin C

30 %


5 %


19 %


This recipe is :
Diet-related health claims  :
Excellent source of  :
Folacin, Vitamin A, Vitamin K
Good source of  :
Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium
Source of  :
Calcium, Copper, Fibre, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Phosphorus, Selenium, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc
Low  :
Fat, Saturated Fat
Free  :
Added Sugar, Cholesterol, Trans Fat


1 serving of this recipe is equivalent to :
Food Group Exchanges
Starches 1
Vegetables 1
Meat and Alternatives ½
Fats ½

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Members' Reviews

148 Reviews (136 with rating only ) 99% would make this recipe again
Sort By: Most Recent| Rating | Most Helpful
Gene F.
february 28, 2017 | I would make this recipe again

A staple in our house...

Useful 0
january 26, 2013 | I would make this recipe again

I increased the cumin slightly. Also, I substituted kale for the Swiss chard. If you're using kale, a suggest you chop it up a bit finer and added about 30 minutes cooking process is ended.

Useful 0
january 21, 2013 | I would make this recipe again

This was a simple, healthy and inexpensive soup but I added a few things to boost the flavour. More broth, less water; 3 bay leaves while simmering; extra onion and garlic and a few chili flakes. I also added the lentils sooner and didn't cook it quite as long. I'll be curious to see how much liquid the barley and lentils absorb overnight.

Useful 0
may 08, 2012 | I would make this recipe again

This one was pretty good. I left the carrots chunky rather than finely chopped, I like a soup to have a good texture. This would be good with some diced stew beef or chicken chunks in it to satisfy my carnivore husband.

Useful 0
january 27, 2011 | I would make this recipe again

I really enjoyed this one!!!

Useful 0

This recipe is in the following categories

Vegetables | Beans/Legumes | Soups | Heart-healthy | High Iron | Low Saturated Fat | Kosher | Low Cholesterol | Low Fat | Halal

Top Reviews

View All Reviews
january 26, 2009 | I would make this recipe again

We liked the texture of this soup, nice and creamy. But next time I would add more spices as it was a little bland.

Useful 9
september 23, 2010 | I would make this recipe again

awesome soup! even my picky 4 year old likes this one! i've made twice and have discovered adding either a dollop of sour cream, or a spoonful of parmesan, makes it even better.

Useful 2
february 27, 2009 | I would make this recipe again

This was excellent, flavourful and hearty.

Useful 2

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