Tomato Barley Soup; The Perfect Comfort Food


I don’t know about you, but fall makes me crave comfort foods.  Not so much meat and potato type dishes, more like soups and chili.  I usually cook on Sunday afternoons so that my meals are ready for the week. Meal planning is crucial if you have a hectic schedule and still want to eat healthy foods.

This week I made a delicious tomato and barley soup that I’d like to share with you. It may sound like a lot of ingredients but trust me when I say this is super easy to throw together.   It’s low in sodium and calories and with the mushrooms, kale and tomatoes it’s pact with nutrition.  What I like most about this recipe are the spices; cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cumin and corriander.  The combination warms you right up.  I like to have this soup with a side of cottage cheese for some added protein.  But if cottage cheese isn’t your thing you could easily make this a side dish with one of your meals.

The next time you have a craving for comfort food, give this tomato and barley soup a try.  The ingredients are simple and it is very easy to make.

Fall soups, spicy tomato and barley soup.

 Inspired by Whole Food’s Tomato Bulgar Soup with Warm Spices

Tomato Barley Soup; The Perfect Comfort Food

Serves 4-5


  • 4 cups Low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 Onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 cup Mushrooms (diced)
  • 1 teaspoon Ground corriander
  • 1 teaspoon Ground cumin
  • 1 dash Cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hot)
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Cinnamon (I recommend starting with 1/2 tbsp and adding more as needed)
  • 1 cup Uncooked pearled barley
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 28oz No salted added diced tomatos
  • 1 tablespoon Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2-3 handfuls Kale
  • 1 tablespoon Crumbled feta cheese


The great thing about this soup is that you can adjust the spices to your taste.  I love cinnamon and cayenne pepper so I went heavy on those two spices.  If you feel that it is too much, start with 1/2 the amount.  You can always add more as you go but it doesn't work quite so well the other way around.  :)

I also added a bit more salt at the end.  Since I used low sodium broth and tomatoes the soup needed a little something.  But I always buy low sodium so that I can control how much is added to my meals.

One last thing, if you have left overs then the barley will most likely soak up the broth.  Add a little extra chicken broth before you heat it up to make it a soup again.  Or you could leave it as is and eat it as a stew like I do.



Step 1
Pour a 1/4 cup of broth into your pot. Add the onions, mushrooms and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent. This is a good trick I learned from Whole Foods. If you would rather use oil then go with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Once the vegetables are ready add the spices, the remainder of the chicken broth, diced tomatoes and the uncooked barley. Simmer on low for 50 - 60 minutes, stir occasionally.

Once the barley is cooked add the kale and simmer for another 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and then sprinkle the feta on top of each serving separately.

What’s your favorite comfort food?  Have a good recipe that you would like to share? Post it in the comments and I might just have to try it.

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Heather (Where's the Beach) 18-10-2012, 14:54

Love it and you can sub out the chicken stock for veggie stock and it’d be vegetarian too. I love adding kale to soups and tend to forget about barley. YUM

Kristen Mercier 18-10-2012, 23:01

If you try it, let me know how it comes out. :)

Tomato Barley Soup – Be Fit with Kristen – Living a fit and healthy … | Fresh Green World 18-10-2012, 21:39

[...] the original post: Tomato Barley Soup – Be Fit with Kristen – Living a fit and healthy … Read more from Eco-Lifestyle cook-on-sunday, delicious-tomato, hectic-schedule, meals, sunday, [...]

Erika Simmons 19-10-2012, 10:06

Sounds good! I might try this with chicken for some added protein.

Juicing Experience: Day 5 « Reflections with Rhonda 20-10-2012, 22:58

[...] Tomato Barley Soup; The Perfect Comfort Food (befitwithkristen.com) [...]

Be Fit with Kristen - Living a fit and healthy lifestyle. Loving life ~ always. 23-10-2012, 09:50

[...] for other tomato based recipes to try?  Give my Tomato & Barley Soup or my crock-pot chili a try.  I also have a great chicken soup also made with [...]

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