Hearty Lentil Barley Stew

This is a great year-round stew because it has fresh herbs and flavours while packing substantial protein and other essential nutrients. Lentils are one of the best vegetarian go-to foods when you need a healthy, filling legume for a dish, and barley pairs really nicely with it, giving a thick and “hearty” taste.

This was my first time cooking with barley and I’m already looking for more recipes to try out. I was initially going to make a mushroom barley soup, but my mushrooms were very sad-looking in the fridge so I used a recipe from my Canadian Living vegetarian cookbook instead. If you’re looking for a new cookbook, I’d seriously suggest trying this one out—I’ve never tried a bad recipe from it and everything looks amazing.

Before this stew, I didn’t know there were different kinds of barley. The two main kinds for cooking stews and soups are pearl and pot barley. From what I found, pot barley (which is what I used) still has its outer husk and its inner kernel. Pearl barley can be substituted and takes generally the same amount of cook time, but apparently it is a little less nutritious than pot barley.

Hearty Lentil Barley StewIngredients

  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. dried thyme
  • Pinch of paprika
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. each salt and black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup pot barley
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Sour cream for garnish


In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Fry onion, garlic, carrot, celery, thyme, paprika, turmeric, salt and pepper for roughly 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and very lightly browned.

Add the vegetable broth plus an additional 2 cups of water, then add in lentils and barley—bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until lentils and barley are tender, about 40 minutes. Stir in parsley and serve hot with a dollop of sour cream in each serving.Hearty Lentil Barley StewHearty Lentil Barley Stew

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Beautiful and simple – I love barley, just the texture it has. Almost meaty!

    1. It is! Everyone in my house liked it (which isn’t an easy task) so I’ll definitely be making it again

  2. Barley is one of my favourite foods! I’ll be leaving this one for winter though – it’s 30ºc (86F) where I am at the moment!

    1. Fair enough! My family thinks I’m weird because I eat soups/stews no matter how hot it is outside 😛

  3. laurasmess says:

    Yum! I’m in love with barley stews… so good for colder weather. Love your combination of herbs and spices. Perfectly nourishing, delicious food x

    1. I like taking it for lunch too because you don’t need a lot to feel full and it’s healthy 🙂

  4. I’m obsessed with lentils but have never tried barley — sis is allergic so maybe it’s better that way haha. I love the dollop of sour cream on top! I like to fry or poach an egg on top of my lentil soup… so heavenly.

  5. This sounds so hearty, delicious and filling! I wish I had some already – perfect for the rainy weather we’ve been having!

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