Sep 27, 2013

Lentil Barley Stew

You can’t go wrong with lentils and barley for a filling, satisfying and nutritious meal. I’ve always enjoyed barley. But the only time I ever saw it on the table growing up was in some kind of canned stew… chunky beef and barley or something of the sort. Ew.

I buy the WHOLE grain barley, not the “pearl” or “pearled” … whoever came up with that term? … wait. I must look it up…

Okay, got it. Pearl barley has been polished, or “pearled” to remove some or all of the outer bran layer along with the hull. If it’s lightly pearled, it will be tan colored; if it’s heavily pearled, the barley will be white, hence the term “pearled.” Most of the barley found in supermarkets today is pearl barley.

So basically, pearl barley is just more processed. It cooks faster and is “easier to chew.” Bah! Easier to chew. That’s just silly. We have MOLARS, people. That were designed to chew. We Americans are so lazy. Sorry. But sometimes I must have just a small rant.

But wait. What about lentils? I remember, as a child, helping my dear old granny sort through EVERY SINGLE LENTIL BEAN at the kitchen table before she cooked them… looking for stones. Stones. Yes, lentils would commonly contain some little stones. Not any more. Probably because someone broke a tooth and sued.

Well, let’s stop being lazy and pampered chewers and get to work enjoying this fabulous stew!

Back to the stew… as I mentioned, I use whole barley, which you can easily find in any health food store in the bulk bins. It does take some time to cook and it’s best to cook it by itself, instead of IN the soup or stew. It cooks more quickly that way. And yes, it is chewy, even when cooked. That’s why I love it.


  • 1 pound lentils
  • 3 cups cooked whole barley
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 celery rib, diced
  • 1 cup chopped roasted red pepper (or one fresh red pepper, chopped)
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen chopped spinach (10 oz. bag if you’re using frozen)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 10 cups water
  • 2 TBS veggie base
  • 2 TBS Spike salt-free seasoning
  • 1 TBS curry powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 TBS tamari (optional)
  • 2 TBS raw cashew butter


  1. Place all ingredients, except the cashew butter and the spinach in a large soup pot and simmer for about one hour.
  2. Add the spinach and cook until just warm so it keeps its vibrant color.
  3. Make a slurry of the cashew butter with a little of the stew broth, then add it to the pot and stir well.
  4. Serve.

Makes a lot. I didn’t measure but we fed five and have enough left over for at least another three or four people. Enjoy!


Healthy trails,

12 responses to “Lentil Barley Stew”

  1. Lentils, barley and spinach are made for each other and ohgoodgolly you added cashew butter too…yumza!
    Thanks for the recipe. Happy Hug a Vegan Day!

  2. Helyn says:

    You're so welcome! ☮

  3. Hey Helyn ,
    In the Lentil Stew recipe it calls for veggie base….what exactly is that? Sounds like it may be veggie bouillon but I want to be sure cause I will be making this very soon. Sounds yuuuummmy!
    Keep up the great posts…I love reading them.

  4. Helyn says:

    Thank you for the feedback!! I use a powdered veg base… I added a link above to my Amazon store so you can see it. You can often find it in regular supermarkets and almost always at health food stores. Enjoy! 🙂

  5. Helyn says:

    Oh my! It's Happy Hug a Vegan Day! I didn't even know it… must check on these kinds of things more often… just pledged 50 hugs! ♥

  6. Anonymous says:

    How much UNcooked barley will make 3 cups cooked?

  7. Helyn says:

    1 1/2 cups barley. Add 3 cups water and simmer for about an hour (cook it as you would rice). The barley will absorb most, if not all, of the water.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thank you!

  9. Anonymous says:

    This Lentil Barley Stew is amazing! Omitted the last 3 ingredients, but didn't miss them 🙂 Thanks for the great diverse selection of healthy recipes. It's a treat to visit your website 🙂

  10. Helyn says:

    Wow! That's great, Annabelle! I'm surprised it was still so good without the cashews… they make it creamy. Thanks very much for the feedback!

  11. shari says:

    Definitely want to try this! IF i dont have cashew butter… what about almond butter … would that work?

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