Vegan Lentil Barley Stew

Okay you guys. All jokes aside, {you know, because I’m such a jokester} this stew is one of the best things to ever come out of my kitchen. I almost posted a picture of some flaky, buttery dessert with melted chocolate running down the side so that I could get my point across here…which is that it tastes incredible.

Seriously, how do you make a healthy stew look drool-worthy? Put a big piece of carby bread smothered with butter next to it? Probably.

I tell you, selling healthy food over the internets ain’t easy. It just ain’t.

Vegan Lentil Barley Stew

It’s kind of funny, the birth story of this stew. As I stood in my kitchen one night last week, preparing dinner, my eyes drifted across the counter until a slightly discolored jar of lentils caught my eye. I silently thought to myself, why are they turning red?

Yep, that’s what it took for me to realize I haven’t made anything with lentils in what felt like an eternity. I’m guessing the months of sunlight from my kitchen window sucked the life, I mean color, out of the little guys but who knows.

I’m ashamed that I forgot about my lovely little lentils for so long though. They’re cheap, healthy and incredibly versatile. Every last one deserves a safe home in somebody’s belly.

Vegan Lentil Barley Stew

I’ve had my mushroom barley soup on the brain for a while but I decided to try something new so I could put the lentils to use.

So I basically threw a bunch of stuff in a pot and this came out. Viola!

Vegan Lentil Barley Stew

The herbs, red wine and mushrooms give it a rich flavor that’s both satisfying and comforting. Then of course, there’s all of the veggies, lentils and barley to make your body sing in it’s sleep. Like in a happy, silent, well-rested way….okay, that was a bad metaphor.

Vegan Lentil Barley Stew

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6

Serving Size: 1.5 cups

Vegan Lentil Barley Stew


1/2 cup brown lentils, soaked overnight and rinsed*

1/2 cup barley, soaked overnight and rinsed*

8 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms (could also use portobello)

1 green bell pepper or celery, diced

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 yellow onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups (or 15 ounce can) diced tomatoes with liquid

5 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup full bodied red wine**

1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon oregano

salt & pepper to taste


  1. Start by warming the two tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Toss in the onion, pepper, garlic, and carrots and sauté for five minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, thyme, oregano, garlic powder and a pinch of salt & pepper then continue to sauté for a few more minutes.
  3. Pour in the red wine and Worcestershire then turn the heat to high so that the liquid starts to boil. Cook for about ten minutes, allowing the wine to reduce by half.
  4. Then add the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, and bay leaves and stir to combine. Add the lentils and the barley as well and allow to cook on high for about five more minutes, until everything is heated through.
  5. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to sit for about twenty to thirty minutes. Add more salt & pepper to taste, if necessary then serve warm.


*Soaking the lentils and barley in separate bowls covered with water and one tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar causes them to sprout which is thought to help with digestion. This step isn’t necessary. You can rinse them and cook right away, it will just take a little longer than if they were soaked.

**I highly recommend using a full bodied red wine such as Cabernet or Chianti for this dish. Using a light red wine will result in a less flavorful dish.

As much as I love to try new recipes, I absolutely have to make this again. It yields six large servings and takes less than hour to make so really, you can’t beat it.


What’s your favorite lentil dish?