Provencal three-grain soup

  • Time 1 hour
  • Yield serves 6 to 8


    1/3 cup spelt
    1/3 cup pearl barley
    1/3 dark green lentils
    3 leeks, white portion only
    2 carrots, chopped
    2 bay leaves
    1/2 t. of fresh or dry thyme
    1 head of garlic, all the cloves peeled
    1 28 oz. can of tomatoes/or your own canned tomatoes
    Sea salt
    Olive oil


    Rinse your grains and lentils off in a fine colander, set aside.

    Put about a tablespoon of olive oil, about 1 teaspoon of sea salt, the herbs, leeks or onions, and carrots in a heavy bottomed soup pot. Turn the heat on fairly low and cook them covered for about five minutes, so they soften but don’t brown. This is called sweating.

    Add the whole can of tomatoes, juice and all, then add about 5 cups of water. Bring this to a simmer.

    Add the grains, lentils and all those garlic cloves (The garlic cloves are the secret weapon! If you or your family is garlic shy, don’t worry, the soup doesn’t taste very garlicky when it’s done.)

    Simmer covered until the grains are tender, about 45 minutes, depending on the grains. Add more water if necessary, to keep it at the thickness you prefer.

    Test for seasoning. Add some fresh ground pepper, and serve in bowls drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. Don’t skip the olive oil swirl. It really makes it, somehow.

    It’s that easy, and that good. I usually double this recipe for leftovers.

    Note re: leftovers: The grains soak up all the liquid when the soup is sitting in the fridge, leaving the soup a semi-solid mass–so you’ll have to add a good deal of water when you go to reheat. This doesn’t effect flavor at all. It’s an excellent leftover type soup.
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