Kidney beans, kale and tomato compliment the earthiness of this hearty barley soup, which is perfect for a cold, snowy day. Taking time to toast the barley before cooking deepens the flavour of the grain, showcasing its delicious nuttiness. This soup is a full meal in a bowl, and makes a filling lunch or dinner, especially when paired with some hearty whole grain bread. We made an extra-large batch on purpose so you can freeze the leftovers for future meals!

Serves 9 (2 cups per serving)


  • 1 cup pot barley, rinsed
  • 12 cups no-salt-added vegetable stock or water – divided (4 cups for cooking barley; 8 cups for soup)
  • 1 cup leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed and diced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 3 cups kale leaves (remove centre ribs), cut into thin strips
  • 1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 can (14 oz) no-added-salt kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Put a rack in middle of oven. Spread barley on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toast in oven for 5-7 minutes, shaking pan occasionally, until aromatic. Cool 5 minutes
  2. Bring 4 cups stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add barley, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 40 minutes, or until tender. Do not drain. 
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat 1 cup of stock over medium heat. Add leeks and cook for 5-7 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, celery, carrot, zucchini, kale, tomatoes, oregano and remaining stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add cooked barley to the vegetable soup. Stir in kidney beans, salt, parsley and cayenne. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
  5. Divide soup into bowls and add 1-2 tbsp of Parmesan to each serving. Freeze unused portions in freezer-safe containers for up to three months (freeze without Parmesan). 

To turn this soup into a stew: in step 3, reduce the amount of soup broth by 1 cup.