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French Lentil Soup with Barley and Rainbow Chard Recipe

by Jeanette on September 3, 2010 · 6 Comments
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French Lentil Soup with Barley and Rainbow Chard
With the threat of a storm as Hurricane Earl made its way up the East Coast,  it was a good day to stay inside and make some homemade soup for my friends with cancer, “B” and “J.”  My friend “B” had suggested some lentil soup, which seems to be her favorite kind, so I set out to make a French lentil soup with grains and greens, to make it extra healthy, and serve as a meal in itself.

Making homemade soups is probably one of the most satisfying foods I make.  Homemade soups are easy to make, create a warm, comforting aroma, and are extremely forgiving.  Almost anything can be added to soup, and a large quantity can be made easily.

While I was in the middle of making my lentil soup, Doris Sokosh, author of the newly published book, Triumph Over Cancer, called.  Doris was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in 1971, and given little hope of survival.  39 years later, Doris just published a cookbook which includes recipes for foods she ate during her recovery from a near death experience.

Unfortunately, poor Doris informed me that she was staying at a facility undergoing physical therapy for a chronic back problem, and that the food was terrible.   Perfect timing, I told her, as I was making soup today, plenty to go around.

As I continued with my soup making, I decided to choose barley as the grain of choice and rainbow chard for the leafy green vegetable.  Alternatively, brown rice, farro, or just about any whole grain can be used.  Leafy green vegetable choices might  include spinach, kale, or collard greens.  

Here’s one of my favorite homemade soup recipes:
5 from 1 reviews
French Lentil Soup with Barley and Rainbow Chard
  • 2 cups French green lentils, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 leek, white and tender green parts only, washed thoroughly, and finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 carrots, finely chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence (a mix of savory, fennel, basil and thyme)
  • 1 cup barley, rinsed and then soaked in water for at least 1 hour
  • 12-14 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 1 16-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 bunch rainbow swiss chard, washed and thinly slice
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Saute leeks, onion, carrots and celery in olive oil until slightly soft, about 3-5 minutes. Add lentils, barley, spices and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, about 1 ½ hours. Add more broth or water as needed. Add tomatoes and cook ½ hour longer. Stir in swiss chard and cook until just tender, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Note:  This recipe has been submitted to a roundup called My Legume Love Affair, hosted by The Well-Seasoned Cook.  

More Homemade Lentil Soup Recipes:

Lisa’s Kitchen’s Curried Carrot and Lentil Soup with Cashews
allrecipes.com’s Moroccan Lentil Soup
Kelly’s Culinary Adventures’ Sweet Potato, Apple & Lentil Soup

Anti-cancer Ingredients:  Lentils, Leek, Onions, Carrots, Celery, Olive Oil, Barley, Tomatoes, Swiss Chard
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  1. Jeanette, this looks delicious! Definitely going to make it this week!

  2. Thanks Jen. The farmer's market has beautiful swiss chard this time of year if you have a chance to stop by. This recipe makes a lot, so you can freeze some or give some to your friends.

  3. That is a fabulous soup! I would love to try this. B and J are graced to have such a fine cook as a dear friend.

    Thank you, Jeanette, for contributing this healthy recipe for MLLA

  4. Cheryl Gardiner says:

    Hey Jeanette! Love these recipes. As you know, I am a big fan of all of your cooking and look forward to using and sharing many of these!Kudos to you for your commitment and compassion! Cheryl

  5. Thanks Cheryl. Brings back memories of making soup for you…let me know if you remember any favorites and I'll post the recipe.

  6. I am bookmarking this soup: it looks just great.

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