Springtime French Green Lentil and Pearl Barley Soup

In my last post I detailed a few of the nefarious finds we’ve made at our new house: the elaborate spider’s nest in the wall, the sketchy crow bar marks on the front door, the kitschy linoleum underlying the lurid teal carpet in the bedroom, both of which are now on their way to the municipal waste station. The weirdness of this flooring situation didn’t hit me until last night. Why was there linoleum in the bedroom to begin with – was that a thing in the late 1960s? And was covering it with teal carpet really the best solution? Oh well, there’s no accounting for taste. That being said, the creative mind responsible for said carpet would likely be equally offended by my design sense .


It’s not my intention to sound like a big old squeaky wheel about the house – believe me, I am more than relieved to be out of the RV even if it means dodging the odd Black Widow and seeing various shades of teal wherever I look. But there’s one last undesirable feature of the house I’d like to mention. The toilet. Yes, I bring up toilets way too often on this blog. But it’s worth mention that, in a cruel twist of fate – after 7 1/2 months of persevering with the clog-prone septic system in the RV – the toilet in the house is… well, I’ll be nice and say it has personality. Indeed, it makes disturbing gurgling sounds, its water surges threatening toward the rim, it flushes ‘normally’ only if you hold the lever down just so. I’m starting to think I must have been an incompetent plumber in a previous life, and am paying my due now via a series of faulty toilets.


The house has also coughed up some pretty cool booty (as in stuff, not the other kind). My SO has actually owned this house for several years, but was renting it to his sister until we moved in last month. Evidently he’d used the cupboards in the laundry room as a dumping ground for miscellaneous junk before he moved out years ago, because when I went to clean out said cupboards I unearthed – amongst several pieces of ancient Tupperware – an ice cream maker straight from the 1980s (remember when these were all the rage?), an unused wok (score) and bafflingly, a single leather glove – which made me wonder if I had a piece of forensic evidence on my hands.


Over the weekend we had a very welcome spate of warm, dry weather here in the Lower Mainland ,which prompted everyone to simultaneously shed their fleece and Gore-Tex and flee into the out-of-doors. This week, however, the Spring showers returned, putting me back in the mood for warm food. The seasonal ingredients that are beginning to make an appearance in grocery stores inspired me to whip up this easy springtime soup featuring French green lentils, pearl barley, sweet carrots, shallots, leeks, white mushrooms, spring onions, lemon and fresh basil! Apart from asparagus (which I’ve yet to come across unfortunately), nothing heralds the arrival of Spring like lemon and fresh herbs 🙂


Recipe: Springtime French Green Lentil and Pearl Barley Soup

Makes 4-6 servings


  • 1/2 cup french green lentils, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup pearl barley, uncooked (omit or substitute lentils if you’re GF)
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 medium leek, finely chopped (white and light green parts only)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 small carrots, diced into 1/4″ thick medallions
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 5 cups vegetable stock (I used low sodium)
  • 2 green onions, chopped (dark and light green parts only), plus a bit more for garnish
  • 4-5 leaves of fresh basil, chopped
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Place dried lentils and barley in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Cover saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 20-30 minutes or until lentils and barley are tender, but still firm. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside until needed.

2. In a large saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add shallots, leeks and carrots and saute until tender.

3. Add in garlic, red pepper flakes and paprika and stir just until garlic is golden brown.

3. Add in cooked lentils, barley and zucchini and stir until everything is combined.

4. Add vegetable stock and bring to a gentle boil.

5. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook until zucchini is tender (or preferably longer to let flavours develop). Taste and season with salt and pepper.

6. Just before serving, stir in lemon juice, green onions, and basil.

7. Serve, topping each portions with chopped green onions and lemon zest. Eat!

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31 thoughts on “Springtime French Green Lentil and Pearl Barley Soup

    • Yup I’m in the Great White North 😉 Hey have you heard of Foodie Penpals? I joined the program this month. You can read about it here: http://www.theleangreenbean.com/foodie-penpals/

      The renovations are underway but progressing slowly. My SO is doing most of the the work himself and only has weekends to work on the house. It’ll probably be a few months until everything is finished 😦

      The new windows go in next week. I never thought I’d be so excited about windows! The old ones are single pane and covered in black mold. Maybe I already complained about that to you but it bears repeating! LOL.

      How was the birthday Carol Burnett marathon?

      • So cool (no pun). I have only ever been to Montreal and Quebec but I loved both cities — especially Q — it was so… European.

        Also, I’ve never heard of Foodie Penpals. Thanks for sending the link.

        Boy do I hear you on the reno. I was married to a contractor so I’m all too familiar with living through a reno or as I like to call it, chaos! Everyone assumed because I was married to a contractor I had the best of everything — not true. You know what saying, “Cobbler’s son has no shoes?” Well, Contractors wife has to wait until contractor husband decides he’s motivated enough to fix and remodel what needs to get done! Also, as you know, after my divorce, I purchased an old outdated home that was built in 1915 and only had 2 owners on record. The previous owner passed away in the house at 98!

        And btw, I give you a lot of credit for living amongst spiders, black widows spiders no less. Eeeeeeeeeek! I couldn’t live knowing a BW was in my house. Spiders freak me out. I always scream when I see any spider. Last summer (my first summer in this house) I found a snake in my basement and you can be I screamed holy terror. I still shudder just thinking about it. I’m almost certain, that incident took years off my life.

        I can also relate with the crowbar/someone trying to break-in uneasiness. I finally broke down and had ADT security come out and do an install with video surveillance and everything. And what’s so cool is I can check on my house from my iPhone. I can also adjust the lights, heat and set the alarm or turn it off. Gotta love technology.

        The birthday was great — we wound up talking more than watching. Oh well — such as the way when you haven’t seen friends in a while.

        Lucky you with the new windows — I need knew windows. This house currently has all the original old wavy pane windows… some windows I can barely see out of due to the age of the glass. Ha Ha!

        Well back to my chores. 🙂

      • I love Montreal too (apart from the language thing – my French is horrible despite taking it all through high school). I used to live in Toronto and took the train to Montreal to a couple times to see bands. It was always a good time.

        The situation you describe about your ex sounds very familiar. My SO is an electrician and power lineman by trade, and has worked in construction in the past. Sounds great on paper, but often he’s too wiped out from working long hours to do stuff around the house. Which is understandable… BUT sometimes I get agitated that things are progressing so slowly. I’m trying to keep my cool though 😉

        I want to get surveillance too. The Vancouver area has a bad property crime problem and I hate the feeling of always having my back up. A monitoring system would put my mind at ease a little. I love that you can control yours from your phone!

        It’s pretty amazing your house still has the original windows in place. Windows are not cheap but we need to bite the bullet and get new ones because the black mold on the current ones is toxic. Plus the house will be more energy efficient once double pane windows are in place.

        Glad your b-day get together was fun 🙂 Have a good week xo

      • Houses are money pits unless you buy new construction. The ADT system is definitely worth it, but have it installed after your replace the windows.

        Thanks girl, you too… I am so ready for warm weather. Bring. It. On. 🙂

      • They are total money pits! We also need a new front door (and roof and gutters… the list is endless). I was completely appalled by the price we were quoted for the door: over 4 grand! And the second quote we got wasn’t much better. We’re going to keep shopping around 😦

        Hope it’s getting a little more Spring-like where you are! It’s still raining here.

      • I feel your pain.

        It’s sunny and high 50s here in the boondocks — I’m working in Smithfield, Rhode Island today — my iPhone barely has a signal! Talk about country, ha-ha. I must have passed 3 farms on my way here. Ha-Ha!

  1. Forensic evidence, maybe. Alternatively, your SO isn’t letting on that he was a fan of Michael Jackson back in the day! Haha!
    Lino in the bedroom? The mind baffles!
    Does the ice cream maker work?

    Your soup looks scrumptious! It is cooling down here. I actually dug my slippers out of my closet this morning, for the first time this year. We are definitely heading into soup weather.
    I am enjoying reading about you settling into your house. I’m even interested in your toilet stories 🙂

    • I think you might be onto something with your glove theory! It’s not a sparkly glove (that would have really made me wonder), but still 😉

      The ice cream maker appears to have all its parts. I’m going to try to find instructions for it online and see if I can get it to work. I wonder if I could make a vegan ice cream using coconut milk. I’ll search for a recipe 🙂

      I’m glad you can stomach my toilet tales – thanks for reading 🙂 Enjoy the cooler weather over there – I have another soup recipe that I’ll be posting within the next few days that I think you’ll like!

  2. Your last photo is just beautiful! I love lentil soup and especially all the flavors you’ve included in yours. This is exactly the type of soup I like to enjoy for lunch. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  3. So funny! Although I’d rather not be in such close proximity to black widows – eeek! I’m scared of normal house spiders!!! But the soup sounds divine 🙂

  4. At least you’re only getting rain; we’ve been having snow storms here in Colorado for the last two weeks. I am so ready for consistantly warm weather (we have days where it’s 70 degrees one day, then 30 degrees and snowing the next). This soup would definitaly get me throught these chilly days until the sun decides to come out again 🙂

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