I like to call this my "Barley & Sage soup" because it's made with pearled barley and fresh sage. But it's also loaded with butternut squash, barley, and kale, this soup is hearty, healthy, and super filling! It’s also naturally vegan!
You only need a few ingredients to make this hearty vegan soup!
Butternut Squash - You need roughly 3 pounds of squash (1 large or 2 small). You can also use pre peeled and diced squash to save time!
Barley - I like to use pearl barley since it only takes 20-30 minutes to cook (as opposed to hulled barley which takes closer to 45 minutes). The barley is fully cooked when it's tender but still chewy. If you don't want to use barley, you can substitute brown rice or farro (just be sure to double check the cooking time).
Kale - I love using fresh kale in this soup because it's so hearty! But you can leave it out or substitute spinach. I prefer to use lacinato kale (also known as dino kale or Tuscan kale) but curly kale works well too.
Vegetable Stock - I always use homemade vegetable stock because that's what I have on hand. But you can also use store-bought vegetable stock or chicken stock! Just note, if using store-bought stock you may need to reduce the salt content of the soup.
White Wine - This is completely optional, I just love the extra flavor it adds to the broth.
Fresh Herbs - Using fresh herbs is always more flavorful and adds some needed brightness to the soup!
Cayenne Pepper - I love adding just a little bit of cayenne for some added flavor and heat! But just leave it out if you prefer.
The complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below.
Step by Step Instructions
Peel the butternut squash, then cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Then cut into 2 inch chunks and set aside.
Finely chop the onion and celery and mince the garlic.
Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add in the onion, celery, and garlic and lightly saute for 5-7 minutes or until tender and aromatic.
Add in the cubed butternut squash, thyme, sage, salt, pepper, and cayenne and let cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the wine, making sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Then add in the vegetable stock and bay leaves and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and add in the pearl barley. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the barley is cooked through (it should be tender but still chewy).
Add in the chopped kale and let cook gently until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the lemon juice, taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Yes, this butternut, barley, and kale soup freezes great! Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw in the fridge overnight.
Tips for Success!
For best results I always recommend using weight measurements (especially when baking) because it's the most accurate. Kitchen scales are super affordable and also reduce the number of dishes you have to do! However, all my recipes also include US customary measurements for convince. Use this chart to convert measurements for common ingredients!
Substitutions: In all my recipes, I've included substitutions that I know will work, but I cannot guarantee results if you substitute ingredients that I have not recommended. [For example, granulated sugar and honey are indeed both sweeteners but they have very different properties so they can not always be swapped 1:1. Using honey in a cookie recipe that calls for granulated sugar will yield a giant mess.] In the recipe card you'll find links to the specific ingredients/brands that I use.
A note on salt: I almost exclusively use Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt because it's the best all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If you're not using kosher salt, consult this handy guide for a conversion chart! When in doubt, if you're using table salt just reduce the amount by half for baked goods. When cooking, I prefer to under-salt because you can always add more! If you've over-salted, adding a little bit of acid (like lemon juice) can help.
More Soup Recipes You Might Like!
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Butternut Squash Soup with Barley and Kale
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- ½ cup white cooking wine, optional
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 2 cups kale, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, optional
- Finely chop the onion and celery and mince the garlic.
- Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add in the onion, celery, and garlic and lightly saute for 5-7 minutes or until tender and aromatic.
- Add in the cubed butternut squash, thyme, sage, salt, pepper, and cayenne and let cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine, making sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Then add in the vegetable stock and bay leaves and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and add in the pearl barley. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the barley is cooked through (it should be tender but still chewy).
- Add in the chopped kale and let cook gently until the kale is wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the lemon juice, taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
- Serve the butternut, barley, and kale soup immediately with crusty bread and enjoy!
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.