Kale, Barley, and Lentil Soup Recipe | Soup Recipes | PBS Food

Kale, Barley, and Lentil Soup

Kale, Barley, and Lentil Soup recipe

This lentil soup is light and filling all at the same time with little preparation. Food blogger Adrianna Adarme of the Fresh Tastes blog adds masa to thicken the broth.


Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons pearl barley
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup red lentils 
  • 4 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ground masa (optional - it's not a must but I like how it thickens the soup nicely) 
  • Bunch of kale, finely chopped
  • 2 corn tortillas, sliced into strips


  1. To a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the shallot; cook until the shallot becomes translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Mix in the minced garlic cloves, pearl barley, tomato paste, cumin, ancho chile powder and smoked paprika. Cook for about a minute, just enough time for the barley to lightly toast. 
  2. Pour in the chicken (or veggie broth, if using) and bring the soup to a slight simmer. Place a lid on the pot and cook the soup on low heat for 15 minutes, until the barley is barely tender. Pour in the lentils, mushrooms and masa. Cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the lentils and mushrooms are cooked. Fold in the kale and cook for an additional minute, just until it's wilted. Salt to taste.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the fried tortillas strips, add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet and place over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the tortilla strips and cook until crispy, about 1 minute. Remove with a fork and allow to drain on a paper towel. Immediately season with a few pinches of salt. 
  4. Divide the soup between bowls. Garnish each soup with a squeeze of lime and a few tortilla strips.
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