Recipe: Hearty Barley Soup with Kale and Parmesan

The perfect antidote to bone-chilling winter weather

For warming your heart, there are family, friends, beloved pets and great stories. For warming the rest of you, there’s soup! This hearty barley soup is the perfect antidote to blustery, bone-chilling winter weather. Featuring kale, carrots, celery, tomatoes, onion, and garlic, it’s loaded with nutrients, fiber and flavor.

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And let’s not forget about the barley! This powerhouse whole grain will fill you up without sending your blood sugar soaring, and it’s chock-full of essential vitamins and minerals. Red pepper, parsley, and a sprinkle of Parmesan give this soup a delightful kick. For lunch or a simple week-night dinner, it will delight your taste buds, nourish you, and warm you from the inside out.


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 medium carrots, cut into small pieces
3 ribs celery, cut into small pieces
3 cloves garlic
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
¾ cup pearl barley
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups torn fresh kale leaves
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan


  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add the carrots and celery and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until tender, 7 to 8 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  5. Add the tomatoes, barley, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and 6 cups of water. Let come to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, until the barley is tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
  7. Stir in the kale and parsley. Simmer 1 minute until tender.
  8. Serve topped with grated Parmesan.

Nutritional facts per serving

Yields 4 servings

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Calories 287
Total fat 9 g
Saturated fat 2 g
Protein 13 g
Carbohydrate 45 g
Dietary fiber 13 g
Sugar 10 g
Added sugar 0 g
Cholesterol 6 mg
Sodium 556 mg

Developed by Sara Quessenberry for Cleveland Clinic Wellness

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