Carrot Barley Stew with Kale Sauce

Carrot Barley Stew with Kale Sauce

This post is in partnership with Bob’s Red Mill.

Most of my broth-based soups have two parts: the soup base and a flavor stir-in. I’ve been making this kale sauce off and on and decided it would be perfect as finishing in a soup. Because the kale sauce brings the flavor, I keep the barley base pretty simple.

I like using Bob’s farro for this recipe since it’s a pearled version- the cooking time is much than if using whole grain farro. The farro cooks while prep and cooking of the other ingredients in the soup are done. It still takes about 45 minutes, but it’s one of my favorite dinners (as long as I have good bread to eat with it).

Carrot Barley Stew with Kale Sauce


I like to keep my flavorings straight-forward in soups, usually with yellow onions and garlic. However, shallots or leeks would also be nice in this soup. Mix and match whatever you might have on hand.


Carrots are probably my favorite soup/stew add-in. If you don’t have carrots, you could also use squash or sweet potatoes instead.

In terms of the greens, you could swap the kale out for chard or spinach. If you decide to use spinach, blanching will be quick- just a dip in the water to brighten the spinach in color.


Carrot Barley Stew with Kale Sauce



½ pound carrots (2 medium)
½ medium yellow onion,
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup pearled barley
45 cups vegetable broth

1 cup packed kale leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Crushed red pepper, for serving

Parmesan, for serving


  • To prep, the vegetables, peel the carrots and cut them into ¼” thick half circles, then mince the onion. Heat a pot over medium heat and add the olive oil, followed by the minced onion and salt. Cook until the onion has softened, then stir in the carrots. Add the carrots followed by the barley and 4 cups of the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the barley is cooked.
  • While the soup is cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the kale leaves. Cook for a few minutes until the kale has brightened in color and is soft. Transfer to a blender along with the olive oil, garlic, vinegar, and salt. Puree, adding a splash of the blanching water as needed to thin the mixture enough to puree mostly smooth.
  • When the barley is done, stir in the kale mixture and bring the soup to a simmer; taste and adjust add more salt as needed. It’s also at this time you can add more broth to thin the soup down as needed.


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