Instant Pot Lentil Barley Soup (Vegan)

Category : SOUPS AND SALADS

Author: David

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Nothing warms you up on a cold day like a steaming bowl of Instant Pot Lentil Barley Soup. This barley soup packed with chock-full of colorful vegetables and hearty lentils all simmered into a flavorsome broth elevates this soup from an accompaniment into a well-balanced weeknight meal.

Serve with freshly baked garlic knots and it will soon become a family favorite! Both crock-pot and stove-top instructions are included! 

Instant Pot Barley Lentil Soup in a bowl with spoon

Soups are so much easier to make in the Instant Pot, and as a bonus, pressure cooking preserves the essential nutrients and vitamins. The flavor is like soup or stew was slow-cooked for hours.

Now, to join the list of my Instant pot meals, here comes one more vegan soup – Instant pot Lentil barley soup that I make so often during winters.

Why? Because it is packed with all the “feel-good” clean eating ingredients that are both fresh and soul-satisfying!

So, if you’re looking for a soup that is nutrient-dense and wholesome, then this soup is just for you! It gets its creaminess from the red lentils, and the addition of chewy, tender pearled barley makes it pleasantly filling and satisfying. It’s the perfect soup to combat the winter chills.

Instant Pot Barley Lentil Soup with breads

Reasons You’ll ♡ this Instant Pot Lentil Barley Soup

Lately, I’ve been loving this barley soup for so many reasons –

  • Requires simple ingredients
  • Made from scratch without any preservatives
  • Remarkably comforting soup
  • Easily customizable
  • Perfect as a weeknight meal 
  • Reheats and freezes well too.

I think I like this recipe because of its simplicity and the nourishment this soup provides.

Barley lentil vegetable soup ingredient list

Ingredients for Instant Pot Lentil Barley Soup

This ingredient list for Barley lentil vegetable soup is relatively short, and it comes together quickly with no complicated ingredients or procedures to follow.

» Olive Oil  —  I have used olive oil; however, you can add any mild flavor oil of your choice.

» Bay Leaf —  Dried bay leaf adds a slightly sweet yet tea-like sort of flavor. This reasonably mild leaf will enhance and brighten up other, bolder flavors. 

» Onions and garlic — This Instant Pot lentil barley soup is flavored with fresh garlic and onions that build the foundation of this soup.

» Vegetables — A wide array of vegetables such as carrots, celery, corn, and red bell pepper add texture, intense flavor, color, and nutrient content to this soup. 

» Lentils — I have used hulled red lentils because they cook quicker than most other lentils and disintegrate during the cooking process, which gives this soup a thick, almost creamy, and hearty texture – which I love the most.

» Barley — I have used pearled barley for my lentil vegetable soup. It is packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It has a nutty flavor and lends a slightly chewy texture when cooked.

» Worcestershire Sauce — optional but adds a great taste to our soup. Trust me, and just a little sauce goes a long way. 

» Herbs and seasonings —  Italian Seasoning, cumin powder, paprika, salt, and pepper are all that I have used. Italian seasoning gives this soup a distinct herbal flavor and aroma. Paprika and cumin powder will add warm and subtle flavor.  

» Vegetable Stock — Since it’s a vegan soup, I have added low-sodium vegetable stock. The non-vegan option would be the addition of chicken broth or stock for a little extra flavor.

» Lime juice — A little squeeze of lime juice at the end will brighten up the overall flavor deliciously. 

» Fresh Cilantro for garnish — Fresh herbs are a great way to finish the soup. In addition to that, it adds a lovely color and a refreshing taste.

How to make Instant Pot Lentil Barley Soup

This section walks you through a detailed step-by-step recipe with pictures. For the FULL, printable recipe card, please scroll down to the bottom of this post.

» Rinse the lentils and barley — Before you begin, check the lentils for small stones. Take a fine-meshed sieve and rinse the lentils and barley (separately) under cold running water to clean any dirt or dust. Set it aside to drain. 

» Cook the aromatics — Turn the Instant Pot to ‘Saute mode.’ Once it displays ‘hot,’ add oil to the insert. Add bay leaves and garlic. Sauté for a minute or until fragrant. 

» Add the Mirepoix — Add chopped onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes until onions are soft and translucent. Add carrots, corn, and celery – cook for another minute. Add bell peppers and give the ingredients a good mix. 

FYI— Mirepoix is a french term use for a combination of aromatic vegetables such as onion, carrot, and celery. It’s the flavor foundation for soups and stews. 

Add Mirepoix to the insert

» Add lentils — Now add the rinsed lentils and pearled barley to the Instant Pot insert. Add Italian seasoning, cumin powder, paprika, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and vegetable stock. Give the ingredients a good stir. Don’t forget to deglaze the base of the insert. 

PROTIP — Deglazing the insert removes all the brown bits stuck to the base. Scrape everything from the base to prevent the burn message. 

Add vegetable stock to the soup

Turn the Instant Pot off. Close the lid and seal the pot. Press the Manual or pressure cook button and cook the Instant Pot Barley lentil Soup for 20 minutes on HIGH.

PROTIP — It will take about 10 minutes for the pressure to build than the actual cooking time.  

Once the cooking time has elapsed, turn the steam valve to the venting position to quickly release the pressure. When the pin drops, carefully open the lid.

» Adjust the consistency — Barley has absorbed the liquid in the soup, and because of that, your soup will be too thick. Adjust the consistency of the soup by adding an extra ½ cup of vegetable stock. Add more liquid if you prefer, and thin out the soup to your liking.

Turn the Instant Pot ON and allow the soup to simmer for 4-5 minutes on the Sauté setting. Add lemon juice and mix again.

» Serve — Adjust the seasonings if needed. Garnish with cilantro leaves, scallions, and serve warm.

Barley Lentil soup in a ladle

Tips and Variations

» If not vegan, you can use a combination of oil and butter for added flavor and rich taste. 

» The beauty of this soup is that you can get as creative as possible and tailor the soup to your needs. Use the vegetables that are your family favorites. I personally love the combination of sweet-earthy veggies that I have added to this barley lentil soup. Still, if some of these veggies don’t suit your palette, the other ones to add to the list are

  • Green beans
  • Butternut squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Mushrooms
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach. Though fresh vegetables taste great, you can use frozen vegetables for convenience.

» You can substitute red lentils with brown or green lentils. They will work too.

» A can of drained and rinsed hearty beans such as white cannellini beans, pinto beans, or red kidney beans will be a great addition to this Instant Pot barley lentil soup. 

» Make sure you use pearled barley and not hulled barley for this recipe. Pearled barley is the polished version of hulled barley which takes longer to cook, whereas pearled barley (softer yet less dense texture) will get cooked along with your veggies in the Instant Pot.

» If you prefer a spicy soup, try cajun seasoning to spice up the flavor. 

» This recipe calls for 5 cups of vegetable stock. You can substitute veggie stock with water, or another option is to mix it up and use 2½ of vegetable stock and 2½ cups of water.

Instant Pot Barley Lentil Soup with bread

Frequently asked questions

Can I substitute Barley?

You sure can! Just a reminder – barley is not gluten-free. If you are not a barley fan, gluten-free grains such as brown rice, millet, farro, quinoa, amaranth, or buckwheat groats can be used as a substitute in this soup.

Can I make this soup on the stovetop?

You most certainly can make this Lentil barley and vegetable soup on the stovetop! Use a dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed pan for this recipe.

  • Heat the pan over medium heat and sauté all the vegetables, leaving the bell peppers for last.
  • Cook the vegetables for a minute or so, not over that. I prefer my vegetables to have a nice al dente bite. 
  • Add the rinsed lentils, barley, and all the liquid.
  • Bring it to a boil. 
  • Now, reduce the heat and allow the barley vegetable soup to simmer for about 30-35 minutes or until the barley is tender and soft.
  • Add red bell peppers, lime juice and let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes until the flavors meddle together. 
  • Serve warm garnished with chopped cilantro leaves.
Slow cooker instructions

This lentil barley vegetable soup is super easy to make in the slow cooker. Add all the ingredients except the lime juice and red bell peppers to make it in the slow-cooker. Turn the slow-cooker ON on the low setting for 6 hours or until the barley is tender and soft.

PROTIP — For the slow cooker version, you will need extra vegetable stock. Add a full 7 cups of vegetable stock to the slow cooker insert. 

Once the cooking time has elapsed, add lime juice, red bell peppers, more stock if needed, and cook for another 45 minutes, and then serve warm garnished with chopped cilantro leaves. 

Instant Pot Barley Lentil Vegetable Soup in a bowl with spoon

Serving suggestions 

 This Instant Pot Lentil Barley soup is filling enough to serve on its own, but if you prefer to serve it as a side, then you can pair it up with your favorite bread or a salad. We polish this soup off with – 

A southwestern black bean and corn salad would be a great choice, too – a light and refreshing side dish!

LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!

This simple yet wholesome soup with subtle flavors is super satisfying and filling. Best of all, you can tweak it up, jazz it; however, your heart desires and will taste delicious.

Should you make this Instant Pot Lentil barley soup, please let me know your thoughts by sharing your comment below. 

And don’t forget to share it with your family and friends.

MORE COMFORTING INSTANT POT RECIPES THAT YOU’LL LOVE!

  • Before you begin, check the lentils for small stones. Take a fine-meshed sieve and rinse the lentils under cold running water to clean any dirt or dust. Set it aside to drain. 

  • Likewise, rinse barley under cold running water to clean any dirt or dust. Set it aside to drain. 

  • Turn the Instant Pot to ‘Saute mode.’ Once it displays ‘hot,’ add oil to the insert. Add bay leaves and garlic.

  • Sauté for a minute or until fragrant.

  • Add chopped onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes until onions are soft and translucent.

  • Add carrots, corn, and celery – cook for another minute. Add bell peppers and give the ingredients a good mix.

  • Now add the rinsed lentils and barley to the Instant Pot insert.

  • Add Italian seasoning, cumin powder, paprika, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and vegetable stock. Give the ingredients a good stir. Don’t forget to deglaze the base of the insert. 

  • Turn the Instant Pot off. Close the lid and seal the pot. Press the Manual or pressure cook button and cook the Instant Pot barley lentil soup for 20 minutes on HIGH.

  • Once the cooking time has elapsed, turn the steam valve to the venting position to quickly release the pressure. When the pin drops, carefully open the lid. Adjust the consistency of the soup by adding an extra ½ cup of vegetable stock. Add more liquid if you prefer, and thin out the soup to your liking.

  • Turn the Instant pot ON and allow the soup to simmer for 4-5 minutes on the Sauté setting. Add lemon juice and mix again.

  •  Adjust the seasonings if needed. Garnish with cilantro leaves, scallions, and serve warm.

 
Storage
Let the soup cool to room temperature then store it in an airtight container. Instant Pot Lentil Barley Soup will last for about 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
As with most soups, this soup becomes tastier and richer the next day as it soaks in all the beautiful flavors.
 
Reheat the soup
This barley lentil soup reheats beautifully. To reheat the next day, transfer the soup to a microwave-safe dish, cover with a lid, and microwave at 1-minute intervals until heated through.
PROTIPUpon cooling, this soup thickens quite a bit as it absorbs all the liquid, therefore, add more vegetable stock or water to thin out the soup. 
You can even reheat the soup on the cooktop over medium heat. Keep stirring the soup until heated through.

 

Freezing

 

I like to make a big batch of soups and stews and freeze them for future dinners. Frozen soups are perfect for adding to your meal plan, bake some fresh bread to go along with it, and dinner is sorted!
Since there is no cream in this soup, you can freeze this Instant Pot Lentil Barley Soup for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, defrost the soup overnight in the fridge, then reheat over the cooktop or in the microwave, as mentioned above. 
 

Calories: 204kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 850mg | Potassium: 301mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1714IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2mg

The nutritional information provided above is approximate. Variations may exist due to the ingredients/brands used. These numbers should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietician.

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indianfoodclub

Welcome to my incredible food paradise! If you are passionate about food, this is the right place to explore exquisite recipes. From tasty starters, delicious meals, and blissful sweet delights, here you will find everything to please the gourmet in you. 

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