Plant Based Recipes

Beefy Lentil Barley Soup

Beefy lentil barley soup shown on a spoon with a bowl of soup in the background

Updated December 27, 2019

This beefy lentil barley soup is so hearty and satisfying. It gets its beefy umami flavour from both green and red lentils, caramelized onions, and tomato. I love it because it uses simple ingredients and can be made with an easy method.

Beefy Lentil Barley Soup, shown garnished with parsley in a white bowl

Soup in general is an excellent way to use leftover veggies, grains, and sauces, but this one in particular is exceptional for this purpose. I used my leftover canned tomatoes from my Black Bean Soup, and leftover pasta sauce from my Grandma’s Meaty Rotini. This soup would come together SO fast if you already have cooked lentils and grains on hand!

Ingredients for Beefy Lentil Barley Soup

With a few simple pantry items you can make this delicious vegan soup recipe right at home. For this recipe you will need:

  1. Onion
  2. Garlic
  3. Celery
  4. Carrots
  5. Pot or Pearly Barley
  6. Red lentils
  7. Green or Brown Lentils
  8. Vegetable bullion cubes or vegetable broth
  9. Tomatoes, canned or fresh
  10. Pasta sauce
Beefy Lentil Barley Soup shown in a glass mug and a white bowl

What Kind of Barley do you use for Soup?

For this Beefy Lentil Barley Soup I’ve used pot barley. I love that pot barley is less refined than the traditional pearl barley. It has an increased amount of fiber and it lends a really nice nutty flavor to the soup.

You could absolutely use pearl barley here in place of the pot barley to keep the soup closer to a traditional Beefy Barley.

1 cup of barley for beefy lentil barley soup

Do You Cook Barley Before Adding it to the Soup?

For this recipe the barley will be added in dry, right at the beginning. To speed up the process you could add in pre-cooked barley right at the end, once the veggies have softened.

How Long Does Barley Take to Cook?

Both pot barley and pearl barley take around 40 minutes to cook thoroughly. I will often cook a large batch on it’s own and either freeze it or leave it in the fridge for up to 7 days to be used in soups like this beefy lentil barley.

Cooked barley is an excellent addition to salads and even on its own as a nutritious side dish! Season it with a bit of garlic and herbs-it’s a great way to include more whole grains into your diet!

Do Lentils Need to be Soaked?

No! That is actually one of the main reasons I use lentils so often. Lentils are one of the few legumes you can cook from dry without having to pre-soak! Not only do they add a delicious flavor to soups, stews and side dishes, they are incredibly easy-and fast to cook!

pssst…..if you are looking for a really easy way to cook dry beans from scratch without having to pre-soak them (or use a pressure cooker) then you need to check out my post about the Easiest Way to cook Dry Beans from Scratch-a Dry Bean Hack. Seriously *life changing*!

Do You Cook Lentils Before Adding Them to Soups?

For this soup recipe the lentils will be added in dry, along with the barley.

If you happen to have some cooked lentils leftover from another dish-go ahead and throw them in to the soup at the end of the cooking time.

If you have pre-cooked barley and pre-cooked lentils on hand in the fridge, this soup will only take 10 minutes to cook. Just enough time for the veggies to soften up.

What Goes Good with Beefy Lentil Barley Soup?

Some of my favorite parings include:

Can You Freeze Beefy Lentil Barley Soup?

This vegan soup recipe is one of the best options for a freezer friendly meal. Often I will make a double batch and freeze half for my *very* large and very busy family!

This soup freezes well because it is a vegetable base. Sometimes you can run into problems when freezing cream based soups-especially if you are using coconut milk. With this vegan soup recipe, you will have no issues with separation.

To defrost this soup, simply pull it out the night before and leave it in the fridge.

Short on time? If you freeze this soup in a reused glass container (leaving room at the top for expansion) you can heat it in the microwave-right from frozen!

I’ve done this countless times because-let’s face it-life can sneak up on you and voila-its lunch and my 4 children (and husband) are hungry!

Beefy lentil barley soup shown on a spoon with a bowl of soup in the background

Is Beefy Lentil Barley Soup Healthy?

This vegan soup recipe includes whole grains, lentils, and a variety of vegetables. It is low in fat, and can be made oil free by simply water sauteing the vegetables instead of using canola oil. This soup is in line with the current Canada Food Guide recommendations to, “Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grain foods and protein foods. Choose protein foods that come from plants more often.

1/2 cup of red lentils and 1/2 cup of green lentils for beefy lentil barley soup

How to make Beefy Lentil Barley Soup

This soup can be made with very little prep work!

  • Just chop and dice all of your veggies, then cook them a few minutes to soften them.
  • Add in your liquid ingredients, spices and the dry lentils and barley.Paragraph
  • Cook the soup over medium high heat for 30-40 minutes, until the barley is tender.

More Vegan Soup Recipes

Here are some of my favorite comforting vegan soup recipes for you to try next!

  1. Easy Black Bean Soup
  2. The Best Creamy Vegan Mushroom Soup
  3. Easy Vegan Minestrone Soup

I’ve included two of the soups above AND this Beefy Lentil Barley Soup plus two *brand new* recipes, Chickpea noodle Soup and Creamy Tomato Bisque in my eBook, Soup Remastered Volume One.

You can download it FREE here!

cover of Soup Remastered Volume one shows tomato bisque soup in a clear bowl on wood background
Beefy Lentil Barley Soup, shown garnished with parsley in a white bowl
5 from 5 votes

Beefy Lentil Barley Soup

This Lentil Barley Soup is the perfect thing to get you through a cold day!! Warm and comforting, this vegan soup is packed full of fiber and delicious umami!

Course Soup
Cuisine vegan
Keyword Beefy Lentil Barley Soup
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 390 kcal
Author Megan Kerry


  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 meduim yellow onion diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup pot or pearl barley
  • 3/4 cup dry red lentils
  • 3/4 cup dry green or brown lentils
  • 2 veggie bullion cubes
  • 8 cups hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes fresh or canned
  • 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce


How to Make Beefy Lentil Barley Soup:

  1. Place a large soup pot over medium heat and add in the canola oil.

  2. Add in the onion and garlic. Make sure the garlic is on TOP of the onion. The garlic is much smaller and can burn easily.

  3. Let the onion and garlic cook for 5 minutes to soften. Try not to stir too much-you want to develop some good colouring on the onions to add flavour!

  4. Add in the celery and carrots.

  5. In a separate bowl, add 4 cups of hot water and 2 veggie bullion cubes. Dissolve and add to the soup. 

  6. Add in an additional 4 cups of water.

  7. Add the lentils and barley.

  8. Add the diced tomatoes and pasta sauce.

  9. Bring the soup to boil and reduce heat to a simmer for around 30 minutes, or until the lentils and barley are tender.

Recipe Notes

**Nutrition and caloric information is an estimate.

This soup turns out pretty thick, almost like a stew. I personally really enjoy it this way, but feel free to add in additional water to thin it out.

Beefy lentil barley soup in a glass mug

So, that’s it for this soup guys. It takes a little longer than a lot of my other recipes due to the cooking time for the lentils and barley, but honestly it’s SO worth it! You should have this on the table in around 30-35 minutes:) you will have enough to feed 6-8 of your closest friends and family. And, a bonus is your house is going to smell amazing! Especially on those cold fall and winter days!

Are you guys looking for the PERFECT accompaniment to this soup! Have a look at this amazing VEGAN Irish Soda Bread from my friend over on the Fiery Vegetarian!! This bread is ready in under 40 MINUTES-which means you can be having a delicious soup along side fresh baked bread in no time!!

Vegan Irish Soda Bread-The Fiery Vegetarian

Follow along on Pinterest for more vegan inspiration!! I pin new recipes daily, from around the world!!

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Read this next

Check out my post on how to make a quick and EASY Vegan Pot Pie with Lentils and Potato.

Don’t forget to RATE THIS RECIPE down below and leave me a comment! I love chatting with you!

Until next time!

Megan Kerry

Megan Kerry is a Vegan Lifestyle Educator and Licensed Practical Nurse. Her content focuses on vegan recipes and ethical living. She is a mom of four children, a long time vegan, and an even longer time foodie. She loves veganizing any and all dishes and sharing her recipes and lifestyle tips with all of you!

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  1. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know
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    1. Thanks for the support Brant! I’m actually in the middle of updating some older posts and this one is on the list! Food photography is a lot of fun for me so you can expect some more deliciousness soon! lol

  2. 5 stars
    Oh yum, I love lentils and this soup looks delicious! I usually caramelize onions like 90% of the time to add more flavour to everything – cos heck, life is too short! – but never thought of doing it for lentil soup, and this is such a healthy version. Can’t wait to try it!

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