Green Chile Barley Soup

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I found myself in my tiny, little kitchen with bags of bulk grains that I had never used before. It was chilly that day and sure to be chilly in my office that week, so I thought, “I ought to make soup with at least one of these grains.” And then I remembered my coworker’s soup from a few weeks prior:  green chile-chicken-brown rice soup. Nom. Obviously, no chicken for me, but green chile in a soup? Ah, heck yeah. So I created this vegan version to tickle my veg-centric tastebuds. Oh and did it tickle! With only half a jalapeño and a 4 oz can of hot green chiles, you’d be surprised how much sabor this soup packs. But flavor it does have–a lot of it! (If you’re not a fan of spicy food, feel free to use mild green chile or to skip the jalapeño).

When most people think of barley, they likely think of beer, but independent of the libations that so many know and love, barley is a whole grain packing a ton of nutritional value. It’s naturally low in saturated fat, a great source of fiber, packed with B vitamins, and full of other minerals like iron, zinc, and copper. There’s also evidence that barley helps fight Type 2 diabetes and lower cholesterol. Barley, like quinoa, is a grain I had never cooked before. Also, like quinoa, I totally fell in love with it. It was hearty and chewy, similar to brown rice, but a bit silkier on the outside. I really liked the texture. It stood it’s ground in this soup and will definitely find it’s way into more of my dishes! And with that, I leave you with soup and wish you all a happy Friday (and weekend)!!! 😀

Green Chile Barley Soup

(Printable Recipe)

Barley Ingredients:

3/4 cup dehulled barley–rinsed

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon olive oil

pinch salt

black pepper

Barley Method:

*Bring all ingredients except the barley to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir in barley. Turn heat to low. Cover. Cook ~30 minutes. Turn off heat. Set aside. Fluff with fork before adding to the soup.

Soup Ingredients:

Cooked barley (from above)

1 small onion–diced

1/2 jalapeño–diced

1/4 green pepper–diced

3 carrots–peeled and sliced

2 cloves garlic–minced

2 stalks celery–chopped

3-4 cups loosely packed kale–chopped

1 4 oz. can hot green chiles

1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 15 oz can drained and rinsed cannellini beans

1 bay leaf

olive oil

4 cups vegetable broth

1 cup water



dash cumin

dash thyme

Soup Method:

*Cook barley (see above). Prep veggies. Add 2-3 tablespoons olive oil to large stock pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, bell pepper, jalapeño, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Cook ~10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic. Cook ~5 minutes. Drop heat to medium low. Add green chiles and diced tomatoes. Stir. Add broth, water, barley, salt, pepper, cumin, thyme. Cover. Drop to low. Cook ~60 minutes stirring occasionally. Add kale and beans. Cook additional 10-15 minutes, uncovered. Adjust seasoning. Enjoy!

Written by

Tiffany M. Griffin is the woman behind Como Water, Washington DC’s premiere veg-centric cuisine consulting company. Through cooking classes, demonstrations, catering, and consultations, Como Water gives people the opportunity to learn how to prepare veg-centric cuisine that boasts maximum flavor, with minimal effort. Tiffany is quickly becoming a go-to expert on the future of veg-centric cuisine, and is a regular contributor to Como Water, the blog, as well as to vegetarian and vegan sites across the Internet. For over a decade, this self-taught, entrepreneurial expert has developed a set of tried and true techniques for making simple, delicious, and sometimes decadent veg-centric dishes. Featured on the Steve Harvey Show and other leading media outlets, Tiffany was born and raised in Springfield, MA. She then earned Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Communications from Boston College and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Washington DC, where she has worked in the US Senate and at a federal agency on issues around health, food, nutrition, and international food aid/development, and of course, as the owner of Como Water. Tiffany gets culinary inspiration from the food she grew up eating, and from her travels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge on veg-centric cuisine with others and to help others live by her mantra—love life, live long, and eat veg-centric cuisine!


  1. This soup looks so warm and comforting – I can imagine its flavours so delicious 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  2. I never knew barley can be used for a savoury dish. Over here, we boil the barley, add some honey and lemon juice as a drink or made into sweet desserts. Love that you have added veges and more spicy taste for us please. Wonderful and just nice for us as a complete meal with a plate of rice.

  3. I do need to start incorporating barley into the diet. Just have not seen a lot of recipes out there for it, so I am glad you came through with this one. Your recipe looks hearty and filling but light on the fat and calories, which gets my vote! As always, your photos are amazing! Enjoy the weekend.

  4. I knew beer was good for me! 🙂

    This looks fantastic – I actually really love barley. It’s so deliciously chewy!

  5. I love barley and I love the addition of green chiles to a soup! This sounds fantastic =)

  6. This soup sounds a little like posole, a chile stew made with hominy. My Mom likes to eat barley as a breakfast cereal and loves it in vegetable soups, too.

  7. I love a good barley soup–and it’s a lot of fun to work with different grains. Your soup has so much great color!

  8. What a hearty delicious soup! I can’t have barley, but I could sub for brown rice – healthy, spicy, yummy soup 🙂 Thanks for coming by today, hope you have a great weekend!

  9. I LOOOOVE how much veggies are in this soup. Totally comfort for me to eat veggies in a soup. My grandma used to eat barley in veggie soup like this but I don’t recall her method. I’d love to try your version. Have a great weekend Tiff!

  10. Okay… I’m buying barley in bulk. You have convinced me with this gorgeous recipe and all the great information about it. I’m sold. 🙂

  11. This sounds awesome- love the spice!

  12. I make barley soup for my family but can’t try myself.

  13. I would love a big bowl of this even though it’s scorching hot here in Bangkok. I love barley and other whole grains and I can just imagine how delicious it would be in a spicy soup!

  14. Oh, my! These really look exceptionally rich and delicious

  15. Yummy! I love barley and vegetable soups! And I especially love the kick of the jalapenos! Not sure if I am coming down with a cold or if it’s allergies…but I would love a bowl of this today! : )

  16. I adore barley, and I appreciate new recipes for using it. I love this month’s theme!

  17. This is a really great soup. I love that you took the “green chile-chicken” idea and applied it to a vegetarian dish. I would totally make this.

  18. This soup looks so hearty and delicious, Tiffany! Love the addition of the chilis for a kick!

  19. Your soup looks so comforting Tiffany! Love all the colorful veggies in this!

  20. I definitely do not eat enough barley, but my favorite way to enjoy it is in a soup. So I am loving your delicious soup! Hugs, Terra

  21. Gorgeous soup, Tiff. I love barley – it adds something extra-special to an already great soup like this. DELICIOUS photos – which is not always easy to achieve with soup.

  22. I see you’re in the Top 9 today! Totally well deserved! This soup looks ace 🙂

  23. I’m not a vegetarian, but I might try this. Looks good, and congratulations on making the foodbuzz Top 9!

  24. Oh, I love beef barley soup…so I know I’d love your green chile version, too! Beautiful with all those veggies!

  25. This sounds so hearty and delicious Tiffany! I can see why it made the top 9 ;)! I would love a large bowl!

  26. Thanks for the comments everyone! And for voting my soup Top 9! 😀

  27. My boyfriend will eat anything with green chile. I have to make this for him!