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Barley, Lentil, and Swiss Chard Soup

January 6, 2009

Barley, Lentil, and Swiss Chard Soup

Here it is, week two of the new year and soup two in my impromptu series of healthy, vegetarian soups. When I told Mr. X I was making barley, lentil, and swiss chard soup he made a face that clearly indicated it sounded in no way appealing, which made me a little worried. And I will admit that the soup is more interesting the day after, when the flavors have had a chance to meld a little more. Which makes it an excellent choice for a week of lunches. And I believe that barley and lentils combine to make a complete protein.

This recipe is another one from, with only a few minor changes by me. I used less cumin than the recipe called for, and at first I thought that was a mistake, though the cumin flavor definitely comes out stronger the next day. So be your own judge about how much cumin you want to throw in there.

Barley, Lentil, and Swiss Chard Soup

This soup does take a full hour to cook, to ensure the barley and lentils are softened and tasty, so it’s not a quick dinner, but it is easy and most of that hour is spent doing something else while the soup simmers away on the stove. I watched Gilmore Girls episodes and spaced out.

Barley, Lentil, and Swiss Chard Soup

  • 1 T. olive oil or canola oil
  • 1/2 a small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced into rounds
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2/3 c. barley
  • 1 32-ounce container of vegetable broth plus about 3 or 4 cups of water
  • 1 14-ounce can of stewed tomatoes (I used the tomatoes I preserved over the summer and was once again very, very happy to have them)
  • 2/3 c. green lentils
  • about 4 c. packed Swiss chard, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, and saute for about a minute, until the onions just start to become transparent. Add the carrots and celery, and saute for another minute or two. Stir in the cumin and stir to coat everything fairly evenly. Then stir in the barley, the broth, and the water (you want about 10 cups of liquid). Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and let simmer for 25 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and the lentils, stir to combine, and bring back up to a boil. Lower the heat again and continue to simmer the for another 30 minutes, or until the barley and the lentils are tender.

Stir in the Swiss chard, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Barley, Lentil, and Swiss Chard Soup

UPDATE! This soup definitely gets better over time. I’ve been eating it for lunch all week, and everyday it seems to taste better. It’s silky and almost creamy, with just the subtlest tomato and cumin flavor. The bits of swiss chard stem stay a bit crunchy while everything else is smooth. This is a great soup which will definitely make a repeat appearance in my kitchen this winter. I hope you enjoy it, too!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2009 7:44 pm

    This sounds great! I want to cook more with grains and beans this year and this will definitely fit the bill. :)


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