Vegetarian barley soup

Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow
Murdoch Recipe Article Lead - narrow 

If you like a bit of heat in your dishes, add ¼ teaspoon of dried chilli flakes to this recipe, or serve it with finely chopped fresh red chillies. You can vary this soup by adding other vegetables, such as snake (yard-long) beans, sweet potato, zucchini (courgette) or whatever is in season.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 brown onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 teaspoons garam masala

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1.75 litres (60 fl oz/7 cups) good-quality vegetable stock

400 g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes

100 g (3½ oz /¼ cup) pearl barley

110 g (3¾ oz) /¼ cup) red split lentils, drained and rinsed

400 g (14 oz) pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) cubes)

1 carrot, sliced into rounds 1 cm (½ inch) thick

150 g (5½ oz ) green beans, trimmed and cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) lengths


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the spices and cook for 30 seconds, or until aromatic.

2. Stir in the stock, tomatoes and barley. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the barley starts to soften.

3. Stir in the lentils and cook for 10 minutes, or until they start to soften. Add the pumpkin and carrot and simmer, covered, for a further 5 minutes.

4. Add the beans and simmer, covered, for another 10 minutes, until all the vegetables are just tender. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.