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.
- 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.