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Vegan Barley Soup with Lentils and Potatoes

Today’s recipe for vegan barley soup with lentils and potatoes comes in very handy on those days when you’re pressed for time to cook dinner, and yet you’re in the mood for a warm, filling plant based soup that tastes like you had to put a lot of effort into it.

Vegan barley soup with lentils and potatoes - a healthy plant based recipe

I tend to use lentils in soups quite often because they are filling and yet relatively quick-cooking – other kinds of legumes are usually high-maintenance.

In the past, I’ve made similar soups with only lentils and some kind of grain, usually brown rice, farro or barley. However, adding tomatoes to my vegan barley soup yields a much tastier broth in my opinion, and potatoes add to the heartiness of the soup.

Vegan barley soup with lentils and potatoes

I used regular potatoes for this soup, but you can use cubed sweet potatoes as well. Regular white potatoes tend to take a while to cook through, so I add them at the same time as lentils and barley.

Alternatively, you can microwave cubed and rinsed potatoes for 1:30 min on high and add them 10 min after you put lentils and barley into the soup. Microwaving potatoes softens them and helps them cook through quicker in your soups and stews.

Another hack: use your own veggie broth! My tutorial for homemade veggie broth will show you an easy and cheap way to always have vegetable broth on hand.

Vegan barley soup recipe with lentils

Recently I’ve been adding mushrooms to almost every warm meal I eat after I read that mushrooms have one of the highest nutrient-per-calorie density out of all foods.

They turn out to be especially good for women’s health. Although the recipe for this soup doesn’t call for mushrooms, I added a couple of chopped-up raw crimini mushrooms to my bowl (not pictured).

Don’t like raw mushrooms? You can quickly sautée them and then add to your serving of soup. And, of course, some chopped-up greens like scallions always go well with a hot bowl of soup!

Yield: 4 servings

Vegan Barley Soup with Lentils and Potatoes

Vegan Barley Soup with Lentils and Potatoes

This vegan barley soup with lentils and potatoes is wholesome and filling. Tomatoes add a nice zing to the flavor of the broth. White potatoes can be substituted with sweet potatoes. Plant based, meat free, dairy free, vegetarian. Can be made gluten free by using brown rice instead of barley.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry lentils
  • 1/3 cup dry barley (may substitute with brown rice or other grain of choice)
  • 2 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 7 cups low-sodium vegetable broth/water


  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 Tbsp fenugreek (optional)
  • 1/2 Tbsp turmeric (optional)
  • Salt, pepper to taste


  1. Add 2 Tbsp of water/vegetable broth to a heated large heavy-bottomed soup pot. When the liquid starts bubbling, add chopped onion, celery, and carrot along with minced garlic. Cook on medium heat for 5 min, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft. Add more liquid if necessary to prevent the mixture sticking to the pot.
  2. In a separate pot, bring your broth or water to a boil, set aside.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients (including spices, except for salt and pepper) to the soup pot, stir. Add boiling water/broth. Bring to a boil again, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 20-25 min, until potatoes are soft and lentils and barley are cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. When done, take the soup pot off the heat, let stand 10-15 min to cool off. Serve with a garnish of chopped scallions or other greens.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 bowl

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 253Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 9gSugar: 7gProtein: 11g

Please note that the provided nutritional information data is approximate.

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Question for you: What’s your favorite soup during the cold time of the year?

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author avatar
Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats
Alina first made a switch to a vegan diet in 2013 to optimize her athletic performance as a marathon runner. Eventually she embraced veganism as a way to be kinder to fellow living beings and the environment. Alina hopes that this blog helps its readers on their path to becoming vegan and making this world a better place.


Sunday 13th of January 2019

Thanks for this delicious soup .I increased the barley as I had no potatoes and it worked fine. I like how the barley and lentils make this a complete protein meal. I will surely make this again soon. ( I am vegan for 10 yrs)

Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats

Monday 14th of January 2019

Glad to hear that you liked this soup, Kay!


Friday 23rd of November 2018

What size can of tomatoes? is this a 15 oz or 28 oz? I am looking forward to trying this in the cold weather we are having now.

Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats

Friday 23rd of November 2018

It's a 15 oz can, thanks for asking!


Monday 16th of July 2018

I have FINALLY got my kids to eat tiny chopped mushrooms in soup! I think I will try this in the crockpot....

Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats

Monday 16th of July 2018

Yay for a win with your kids!

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