Hearty Lentil-Barley Soup with Kale and Sweet Potatoes

There was some kale in my refrigerator and some dried lentils in the pantry that needed to be used up so Saturday I decided to make a big pot of soup. It started with the usual trinity of; carrots, celery and onion sauteed in a little olive oil in my big dutch oven. Garlic makes everything better so of course in goes a little of that. Crushed tomatoes with basil already in them and chicken broth were added along with the lentils, pearl barley and a sweet potato. Towards the end of the simmer 4 cups of chopped kale was added.

It passed my taste test with flying colors! So enjoyable is the nutty chew of the barley, tender lentils, the sweetness of the sweet potato and the earthy flavor of the cooked kale. I was happy with it at this point but I knew if I tried to serve it to hubby Tom as is, the first thing he would ask would be, where’s the meat?  So in went 10 ounces of cubed cooked chicken breast. Sure enough when I served him up a bowl of this soup what popped out of his mouth before he even took a bite – “Is there any meat in this?” I smiled and said, “oh yes there is, just for you!”

This soup is thick, almost more like a stew and very filling. I was quite pleased with the nutritional values after I ran it through Mastercook.


Each serving is a hefty 1 1/2 cups. A hearty meal that is rich in flavor, full of fiber and so good for you!

My favorite herb blend for soups like this is Herbs de Provence. You might also see it spelled, Herbs DE Provence. It originates from the hills of France well known for growing herbs. The blend of herbs varies a little from brand to brand. This one pictured is a blend of Thyme, Fennel, Basil, Savory and Lavender. For some reason Lavender is added to American blends but it’s not found in traditional French blends. Sometimes the blends I have purchased will contain marjoram or rosemary too. I found this super size container at Costco. Use it with chicken, turkey, fish or meat as well as in stews and soups. You will see that I add this herb blend to many of the dishes I make.


Hearty Lentil -Barley Soup with Kale and Sweet Potatoes

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 medium carrots — diced
  • 4 Celery ribs — diced
  • 1 medium onion — chopped
  • 1 clove garlic– minced
  • 6 ounces sweet potato–peeled, diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 28 ounces –  canned crushed tomatoes — with basil
  • 14.5 ounce – can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup lentils — rinsed
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 1 teaspoon Herb de Provence — or to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper — to taste
  • 4 cups chopped Kale –remove leaves from the stems as they are tough
  • 10 ounces chicken white meat — cooked– diced–optional


  1. In a large dutch oven saute the celery, onion, garlic and carrots in olive oil until tender.
  2. Add water, tomatoes, broth, lentils, barley, sweet potatoes, Herbs de Provence and freshly ground black pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add chopped kale and continue to simmer for 20-30 minutes or until kale is cooked.
  4. Optional – the last 10 minutes add the cooked chicken. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

Yields: 15 cups    Servings: 10     Serving Size: 1.5 cups

Nutritional Information

With Chicken Per Serving : 246 Calories; 3g Fat (10.7% calories from fat); 19g Protein; 38g Carbohydrate; 11g Dietary Fiber; 16mg Cholesterol; 763mg Sodium.  Old WWP 4 /New WWPP 6

Without Chicken Per Serving: 214 Calories; 3g Fat (10.2% calories from fat); 12g Protein; 38g Carbohydrate; 11g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 744mg Sodium. Old WWP 4 / New WWPP 5

A Nutmeg Notebook Recipe

Nutmeg Notes

I enjoyed everyones comments on the post about beets. The common food that our mother’s made us eat that we hated as a kid was liver! My mom made me eat it too! I still don’t like it. It is one of those foods like lamb that I just can’t eat and I don’t even like the smell of them!

I worked on the new blog like a crazy person last week. Some days I worked up to 13 hours on it, in an attempt to get my work done while son David was off from College on his Spring break so he could launch it for me. Even after all that work I didn’t get everything done and he resumed classes today. Boo-hoo for me. In fact I forgot one of the steps he had told me to do (brain fade) and so now I have to go back through almost 300 posts and do the missing step. It might be a couple more weeks before he has the time to work on it so I have to be patient. Anything worth wanting is worth waiting for.

What has been fun is to go back and see the posts and re-visit all of the recipes I have tried in the past 14 months. There are so many recipes I want to make again! It was fun to see my personal fitness, health and weight journey documented in writing and photos. It gave me a boost despite my current temporary 6 pound weight gain, which by the way is no longer 6 pounds but my official weigh in day will be Wednesday so more on that later in the week!

Ahead for me this week is more blog work and a dental appointment to check the progress of my braces. I am so ready to be done with braces! Hopefully I can get in some walks outside since the sun is shining for a change. Yippee! 🙂 I am always more active when the weather is nice. Walking, working out in the yard and bike riding will soon fill my need to exercise.

Feeling like Spring is about to arrive!


Add Your Thoughts

Does Your exercise routine change in the Spring and Summer?

What outdoor activities do you enjoy?

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  1. megi says:

    Hi Tami, I am making this soup for tonight and it already smells great. I read your post and it looked like the perfect thing to have for dinner. I took a little shortcut by putting the celery, onion and carrot in the food processor for like 5 seconds instead of dicing them and cut the kale stems into small pieces and added to the pot with the rest of the ingredients, they are tough but work quite well in a stew. I’ll let you know how it turns out, thank you for such a healthy recipe, looking forward to it!

    1. megi says:

      The soup was fabulous tonight, just what I needed, it’s still fairly cold outside and a hot, comforting stew was just perfect. Thank you again.

      1. Tami says:

        Megi thank you for coming back and letting me know you enjoyed the soup. I had it for lunch today and it kept me full all afternoon!

  2. Jody - Fit at 53 says:

    WOW, that soup looks amazing! Got to check Costco for that seasoning too! I buy those big containers of cinnamon & stuff there! 🙂

    Ah, the blog work.. that is why I put off updating mine.. 😉

    So happy for the incoming nice weather this week!!!

    1. Tami says:

      Jody enjoy the nice weather and the sunshine. I buy the large cinnamon at Costco too!

  3. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    Your soup sounds wonderful!!!

    Looking back at old blog posts is so much fun! It really shows you where you’ve been and some of the things you have accomplished. Enjoy the work on your new blog! 🙂

    I love working out outdoors. I usually sneak in short mini workouts when I take the toddler to the park (squats, lunges, sprints, etc.; and, yes, I’m sure plenty of people think I’m crazy…). I also love to hike. It’s just so much easier to get plenty of exercise when the weather is nice!

    1. Tami says:

      That is so cool that you get in little mini workouts while your son is playing!

  4. Tish says:

    This soup is on my agenda for this week. Our weather is still flirting with cold spells, so soup sounds perfect and your soup, in particular, is very appealing. Good luck on the new site. Can’t wait to see it.

    1. Tami says:

      Thanks for the well wishes on the blog work Tish!

      I had this soup again today and I love it! I think we are getting closer to Spring and soon I won’t be making soup. Instead I will switch to creative salads! I am so looking forward to it.

  5. Carol says:

    Your soup looks delicious! I’m a real soup lover & can eat it all year round!

    I must be the exception about liver….I had to eat it per doctor’s orders for the iron and learned to love it. But none of my family like it so I don’t cook it anymore.

    I get more active come Spring with yard work & I hope to get back to walking if my back ever co-operates! I like walking in the rain or very cool days.

    1. Tami says:

      You aren’t completely alone in liking liver Carol. Hubby likes it. He wanted to fix it once when we were first married and it must have gone bad because it smelled horrible and he couldn’t eat it. We never bought it again but he did order iver and onions sometimes when he would be eating out with co workers.

      It’s great that we don’t all like the same things. Variety is the spice of life!

  6. Roz says:

    Hi Tami, I’ve so bookmarked this recipe. Looks great. Can’t wait to see the new site!!!! Have a great day.

  7. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    When it’s nice outdoors, I’m like an exercise *machine*! I love walking and riding my bike and then sitting still for a few minutes enjoying the sunny abundance.

  8. Dawn Hutchins says:

    Lentils, barley, sweet potatoes AND kale?! I’m in love!
    I can’t say my workout routine changes that much in the summer considering I work out at the gym on my lunch breaks or go to my yoga studio.

  9. Dr. J says:

    Beautiful dish, Tami!

    Braces!! You are very brave. I gad them as a kid and it was not fun, although I hear they do them better now.

    Ps Nice smile!!

  10. renee@mykitchenadventures says:

    Brain fade…lol…I know it well…lol its the age.

    what a beautiful soup/stew…or stoop as RR would say, I guess…lol I really love barley in soups. I found a soup recipe that uses wheat berries, and I want to give that a try some day soon!

    It has been very cold here, but sunny, and I am enjoying walks outside again.

  11. Karen says:

    I am soooo curious to see the new blog!! Yes, when it warms up I will bike outside:)

  12. Briana says:

    This is bubbling on the stove right now, and was just what I was looking for in a recipe! Smells delicious!


    1. Tami says:

      Oh my gosh I hope you like it as much as we do! I used up the last of this out of my freezer and need to make more.

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