Soup For The Soul – Stew For The Heart

This creation was a revelation in the art of wholesome pick me ups, warm me all, fill me up combinations – a soup and stew marriage, that embraces and pampers the senses.  Because it was almost impossible to define as either one or the other, it is one of those ‘twin recipes’ – but who cares about that ?  Taste and texture are always my No.1 priority, together with colour, passion – and a sense of that something else that will just lift you up.  It’s a kid’s friendly soup; my 6 year old just gobbled it up and demanded that I make it again.  I can see why.  Probably one of the best soup/stew treats for this winter.  No need for a second course, you’ll be having this for seconds.  Serve with crunchy garlic bread for full effect !


extra virgin olive oil

100 g pearl barley, washed and drained

100 g green split peas (pre-soak for a few hours or overnight), washed and drained

1 leek, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 celery stick, finely chopped

1 Tbsp ground vegetable stock, or 1 stock cube (such as Kallo)

½ tsp curry powder (use mild if you wish)

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 cup frozen spinach, thawed

400 g tin borlotti beans, or cannellini beans, washed & drained

4 to 5 cups (1ltr to 1.25ltr) water

salt to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or casserole, and fry your leek and celery, stirring all the time.  Next, add the garlic, and continue stirring for a minute or so.
  2. At this point, add the drained grains (but not the beans), then add the spices, and mix.  Lower the heat, and add the rest of the ingredients, except for the water, spinach and beans.
  3. After 5 minutes, add half the water, and allow to simmer gently for 20 -30 minutes.
  4. Then add the spinach and the beans, cover, and continue to cook, making sure it does not reach boiling point.  Cook until the split peas soften, and the barley is well cooked.
  5. Add a little more water if needed.  Do taste for salt, and then serve.
  6. Enjoy with garlic bread if you wish !  Bon Appétit and please leave a comment in my comment box as and when you have tried it.  Thanks.

All recipes and content © Miriam Sorrell 2010

These are free recipes for your pleasure – all we ask in return is that you take a few moments to leave us a constructive comment !

suitable for vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike

90 Responses to “Soup For The Soul – Stew For The Heart”

  1. Michael (from Facebook) Says:

    Shared on Facebook! 🙂

    Yes, this is a hearty concoction to warm up to during a cold winter day! 🙂

  2. Miriam Says:

    Michael Hi there and thanks for dropping by here. It is very hearty and delicious too – hope you treat yourself to this when the cold is too much outside, as it’s ideal for that type of day ! Best wishes and thanks for sharing as always. Cheers.

  3. Fern Says:

    This recipe looks great, as all of your do. I am not vegan, but am vegetarian, but have no problem making and eating these recipes. This is another winner…thanks Miriam!

  4. shelby Says:

    This sounds really good..and am going to make this dish soon! Especially since Spinach and Cannellini beans are two of my all time fave foods.

  5. Terry Says:

    yummy…trying this one this weekend…thanks, Miriam!

  6. Dee Says:

    Thanks for the recipe, Miriam. Makes a lovely lunch on a cold winter’s day.

  7. Miriam Says:

    You are welcome there Dee. Tried to open your link but it does not open. Best your way !

  8. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Terry and welcome here. I look forward to your future comments and feedback on this recipe soon. Best wishes your way !

  9. Miriam Says:

    Shelby Hi there and welcome. I do hope you make this soon as it’s so easy to make and is delicious and warming too ! Mmmm, will let you be the judge of that and look forward to your feedback on it !

  10. Miriam Says:

    Fern Hi there and welcome here. What wonderful words ! The idea behind all my recipes is two fold – 1. Animals. 2. Taste. Because these 2 factors score so high on my agenda – I give high priority to the result – if it tastes great, then everybody stands to win !!! Thanks for dropping by and I very much look forward to your future comments on my blog ! Best wishes your way in the meantime. Enjoy !

  11. Nancie Barnett Says:

    all of your recipes look so yummy…once i get into my new house, i will be cooking them up! 🙂

  12. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Nancie and welcome here. I very much look forward to your future comments on my blog once you have moved ! Best wishes your way in the meantime and thanks for your kind words.

  13. Anne Says:

    quick question ~ do you soak the split peas or just rinse them? I usually soak them before using in recipes…

  14. Anne Says:

    1 more question ~ when you say “tin” of bean I am assuming that means canned beans and not dry cannellini… LOVE your recipes!

  15. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Anne – 250 grams when drained from a tin (so yes, pre-cooked beans). Hope this helps. Enjoy !

  16. Miriam Says:

    Anne Hi there and welcome here. Many thanks for your comment – I think that pre-soaking them will help them cook faster (otherwise they will still cook, but will take longer to do so). Enjoy, and let me know how it goes. Best wishes to you !

  17. Terry Says:

    Hi Miriam, made this yesterday…it was great and I don’t even like split peas! hehe…thanks for ALL of your delicious recipes..

  18. Mandy Says:

    As ususal here is another winner! I have been making a lot of your recipes and have gotten great reviews. Please continue posting these mouthwatering treats. Have a blessed day and thanks!

  19. Miriam Says:

    Mandy Hi there and welcome here. Mandy I am glad you have made and enjoyed this, how wonderful is that ! I look forward to your future comments here and thanks for your kind words.

  20. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Terry and thanks for dropping by here with your comment. That’s awesome that you enjoyed this soup/stew so much in spite of not usually being partial to split peas – the blend just works ! I look forward to your future comments on my blog ! Best wishes your way in the meantime.

  21. Rachel Says:

    I am going to try this and wanted to thank you for making them all look so pretty and appealing!

  22. Barbara Says:

    This looks delicious, I’m going to have to make it this week and take some to work for lunch, thank you!

  23. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Barbara and thanks for dropping by here – let me know how it goes. Great photography on your blog ! Best your way.

  24. Andy Corzine Says:

    Came out perfect! Delicious!!

  25. Miriam Says:

    Andy Hi there and thanks for the feedback on this recipe. I am so glad you have enjoyed this recipe and hope you continue to do so this winter. Hope you manage to make my stew on my home page – that is also a winner (and very easy to make), truly ! Best wishes your way.

  26. Barbara Says:

    Thanks for your kind words Miriam. I’m just eating this for my lunch (made it in the slow cooker overnight), it’s totally delicious!

  27. Miriam Says:

    Barbara Hi there and thanks for your feedback – now that is what I call a result ! Hurray you can make this at will anytime this winter. Do try my soup/stew too (if so, here is a tip for you :- soak the pulses in water overnight 1st). Cheers !

  28. Sallie Douglas Says:

    I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  29. Miriam Says:

    Sallie Hi there and welcome here. I hope you make and enjoy this recipe – if so pop back and let me have your feedback. Best wishes your way in the meantime ! Cheers.

  30. Sonia Says:

    This looks fantastic – I love split peas, barley, spinach, and cannellini beans, all of them! – and I am a huge soup/stew person! Plus I am vegan, so this is going to be a winner! I can’t wait!!! One question, though – can I use vegetable stock (liquid) instead of the ground veg. stock or stock cube? I don’t think I’ve ever seen ground veg. stock or cube around here, just chicken or beef… Thank you! Have a wonderful day!

  31. Kamila Says:

    This soup tastes very special! My boyfriend made it for me and I loved it!

  32. Allan Andrade Says:

    This seems to be an awesome, healthy one!

  33. Miriam Says:

    Allan Hi there and thanks for your comment – hope you make and enjoy this, if so let me know how it goes.

  34. Debbie Says:

    Hi Miriam

    I made this late last night as I wanted to take some to work for my lunch. I am eating it right now as I write this and it is absolutely delicious. I’ve never cooked with pearl barley before and it is such a good combination with the leeks and cannellini beans! Well done for creating such a hearty meal. It is quite chilly, here in London (UK) and this is definitely a welcome meal. I am looking forward to trying out some more of your recipes. Take care for now

  35. Miriam Says:

    Kamila Hi there and thanks for letting me know. Your boyfriend is very kind and I am delighted that you loved it ! I look forward to your future comments on my blog and best wishes your way in the meantime !

  36. Miriam Says:

    Sonia Hi there and thanks for your comment. Yes, you can use a vegetable stock cube, (Kallo brand is good and is also Vegan). Enjoy and let me have your thoughts. Remember to make sure the barley and split peas are pre-soaked and well cooked, the rest is magic. Best wishes your way in the meantime !

  37. Satya Says:

    Miriam please stop with these food stuff, I may dehydrate salivating!

  38. Miriam Says:

    Oh dear Satya, I didn’t know I had such an effect. Problem is I will be posting up some more very, very mouthwatering recipes very soon ! Take care and keep cool 🙂 Cheers to you !

  39. Bronwyn Evans Says:

    Looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it.
    One question, though: What kind of beans is the last ingredient,(borlotti or cannellini) I live in Spain, and will have to come up with something similar.
    Thanks for your recipes. Everyone I’ve tried has been wonderful.

  40. Dawn Says:

    I am just starting a vegan lifestyle so I am thrilled to find a recipe that is easy to prepare and sounds both hearty and delicious! One question; I don’t have a food scale so I can’t measure in grams. What would the measurement for the barley and peas be in cups?

  41. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Dawn. Try half a cup of barley and 3 quarters of a cup of peas. Enjoy and let me know how it goes. Cheers !

  42. Miriam Says:

    Bronwyn Hi there and thanks for your feedback and glad you have enjoyed all the recipes you have tried from my blog. With regards to the beans, I suggest you use any beans from a tin/can that are soft to chew – most will work well in this soup/stew truly. Best wishes your way in the meantime and look forward to your future comments and feedback on my blog !

  43. Noma Says:

    Hey Mirriam l made this lovely pick me up …fill me up and just want to say thanks for your lovely recipe l know why your 6 year old gobbled it up l just did. Healthy and filling.

  44. Miriam Says:

    Thanks for letting me know Noma, that’s great news. Hope you enjoy more of my recipes. Best wishes your way in the meantime !

  45. Kim C Says:

    Absolutely scrumptious! Shared and will definitely make this delectable dish winter. Thanks for sharing with us!

  46. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Kim and thanks for your comment. Thanks also for sharing. I look forward to your feedback on this. Best wishes your way in the meantime.

  47. Jodi Says:

    Hello Miriam,

    I had asked you for a conversion from your measurements to those of the USA. I remember you directed me to somewhere on the site but I can’t find it? Can you help? Thanks very much. I’m making this as soon as you respond!!

  48. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Jodi – here it is, hope this helps you Let me know how it goes. Best to you !

  49. Rachel Louisa Says:

    Hi Miriam, would this work with red lentils in place of green split peas? Just wondering as I have some I need to use up… Thank you for your delicious and inspiring recipes! Best wishes.

  50. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Rachel and welcome here. I although it works better with split green peas it will work well with red lentils. Let me know how it goes and I look forward to your future comments on my blog !

  51. Rachel Louisa Says:

    Substituted red lentils for split green peas, a sprinkle of dried chili flakes for the curry powder, and used fresh instead of frozen spinach – still turned out delicious. Thank you!

  52. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Rachel, sounds pretty good to me. I am glad that you enjoyed it (fresh spinach is always great, especially when it’s in season). I look forward to your future comments on my blog and best wishes your way in the meantime !

  53. Sarah Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing all of these wonderful, cruelty-free recipes!! I’m an eventual vegan and can really use these to make the transformation!

  54. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Sarah and welcome here. I am glad you found my blog and delighted to hear that my recipes will help you on your journey – kudos to you for choosing the vegan lifestyle, it’s never too late to start ! I look forward to your future comments on my blog and best wishes your way in the meantime !

  55. jen Says:

    how many does this serve?????

  56. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Jen. Around 4 portions usually, but I cannot be exact as this depends on portion size, soup bowl size, how hungry one is etc. . . that said, the worse that can happen is that you have a little left to put in the fridge for the next day. Let me know how it goes. Cheers !

  57. noona Says:

    Do you use dry beans? do you have to leave them to soak over night?

  58. Miriam Says:

    Noona, I confess that I use the tinned beans for this. The rest of the dried peas, barley I soak overnight and use them when I have drained and re-washed them. Best to you !

  59. jimmy nicholls Says:

    It looks delightful even though I’m not a vegatarian,I’ll try it

  60. Miriam Says:

    Jimmy Hi there and welcome here. I can assure you there are more than a handful of people on my blog who are not vegetarians. That said, many non-vegetarians/vegans these days fancy a few days a week of non-meat/dairy consumption for both variety and sometimes health, either way adding veggie recipes to your diet is helping with your variety. This soup stew I promise is a delicious option and would love to hear back from you with feedback Jimmy. Best wishes your way in the meantime !

  61. Mary Says:

    Miriam… I can’t wait to make this. Every one of your recipes that I have made have been big hits both with family and company! I’m wondering… The one time that I cooked pearl barley to put in soup, I didn’t like it. They turned out big, round, and rubbery and did not look like those nice oval ones with the brown strip like the ones in your picture. Maybe I had the wrong product?? I’ll go back to the natural food store and try again. I love the kind of barley in your picture but have never made it. Thank you for all the great recipes!

  62. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Mary – glad you have enjoyed my recipes and that your friends and family have done too, that’s awesome news ! The barley we use is pearl barley, hope you find it and make this as it’s wonderful – all barley swells somewhat when it cooks, but in this type of stew soup it works very well. Best wishes your way and let me know how it goes. Tip :-If you can’t find the right barley then add rice instead. 🙂

  63. Rakshanda Says:

    Hi Miriam, tried the soup and it was delicious – just added slightly less barley and split peas because I like it a bit thinner and it was really super ! Have shared it on FB and with a couple of friends struggling with vegan recipes. It did remind me of a soup my gran used to make (she was Iranian)and she used rice instead of barley and I remember towards the end she would add just a handful of broken spaghetti to it – I think to make it heartier and more filling! Thanks Miriam

  64. Miriam Says:

    Hi Rakshanda and welcome here. Thanks for your comment and feedback. I have to agree with you regarding your grandma’s idea of making this hearty soup a hearty one with her additions in the past. I am glad you enjoyed my soup/stew and I very much look forward to your future comments on my blog ! Best wishes your way in the meantime.

  65. Marty Bellew-Smith, Ph.D. Says:

    Every recipe I try of yours, turns out delicious. I’m sure this one will be to. And, it is miserably cold here today—not fit for woman or beast!

  66. Miriam Says:

    Marty Hi there and thanks for your very kind words ! So sorry to hear about the cold, but allow me to say that this recipe is very apt for it, so make double portions as you won’t regret it. Great with some crunchy warm bread too (just stick it in the oven for a few minutes prior to serving the soup/stew), and oh I almost forget there – come back with your feedback as and when (no rush) 🙂

  67. Barb Says:

    This looks absolutely wonderful on a cold Winter day! Love the fact that it’s vegan, too. Thank you!

  68. Miriam Says:

    Hi there Barb, be assured that all my recipes are vegan and I hope you make and enjoy this one and come back with your feedback ! Best wishes your way in the meantime ! 🙂

  69. Glaire Says:

    I made this last night oh it’s really delicious, as a matter of fact I’m cooking it again right now and this time I did make a lot coz I want my mom to taste this, I’m sure she’ll love this coz she loves vegetables and really hates meat.

  70. Miriam Says:

    Sounds totally perfect Glaire and pleased to hear from you ! Hope mom enjoyed it too !

  71. Bec Buchanan Says:

    Hi Miriam, I made this tonight and it’s absolutely delicious and soooo healthy. I am making your orzo recipe tomorrow and on Friday i’m making 3 of your curries for a dinner party (of meateaters, except me!). I have been following you for a while but haven’t got around to making your recipes til tonight. I’m so glad I finally did. I can’t wait for your book! Thanks for your recipes and website.

  72. Miriam Says:

    Bec dear Hi there and thanks so much for getting back to me with your feedback. Glad you finally tasted the recipes and they won’t disappoint ! Kudos to you for preparing 3 curries on Friday – I shall await your feedback for that ! Thanks for your interest in my book – it’s there for pre-ordering on my home page as and when Bec :). Meantime, I look forward to your future comments on my blog and best wishes your way !

  73. Glaire Says:

    Hi Miriam, I can’t wait for your book! My mom and my sister really enjoyed the stew and they keep bugging me to cook for them hahaha. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes.

  74. Miriam Says:

    Hi ther Glaire and thanks for dropping by here. Thanks also for your interest in my book, it is out for pre-ordering on Amazon from my homepage. I am also delighted to hear that your mom and sister enjoyed my stew – sounds like you have your role sorted out at home – the mouthwatering vegan cook in the kitchen ! Kudos to you and I look forward to your future comments and feedback on my blog. Best wishes your way in the meantime !

  75. Jessica Says:

    Hi Miriam, thank you for sharing this tasty soup/stew recipe. I made it on the weekend mostly following the recipe, it turned out great. I cooked it for approx 2.5hrs. I soaked the pearl barley overnight along with the green split peas and also subbed the frozen spinach for fresh baby spinach. I will definitely be making this one again 🙂

  76. loy Says:

    hi i would like to know if i can substitute the barley for quinoa and what the quantity

  77. Miriam Says:

    Hi Loy, yes you can substitute it for the quinoa – I would say use half a cup of dried quinoa for this, depending on how thick you want it. Hope you enjoy it ! 🙂

  78. Miriam Says:

    Jessica Hi there and thanks for your feedback. So glad you made and enjoyed it ! Best your way ! 🙂

  79. Yasmine Says:

    Hi Miriam,
    Hope your day is going well!
    I made this the other day and my 1.5 year old wanted more…hehe
    It’s full of goodness and best of all…so delicious!!!
    I had to soak the split green peas overnight and pressure cooked it a bit because it took a while to soften. Thanks again for a great recipe…I’m making this again this week. Take care! xoxo

  80. Miriam Says:

    Thanks for your feedback Yasmine – split peas do need a good day’s soaking sometimes, and even then they sometimes don’t soften enough, so the pressure cooker comes in handy. So glad your little one loved it, that’s great news ! 🙂

  81. Judy Says:

    Hi Miriam, I have made lots of your recipes and have enjoyed every one of them. I made this last night and I wasn’t too keen on it straight off the stove so I let it cool and put it in the fridge, deciding I would try it for lunch the next day instead. Well, I am pleased to say that it made an amazing lunch! The flavours really fused over night, my split peas which refused to soften became perfectly soft. It’s delicious and I will be making this one again.

    Notes: I soaked my split peas for 15 hours before I cooked them but I still required much longer cooking time than the recipe states.

    Thanks again! x

  82. Amy Says:

    I am eating this as I type. It’s freezing in Melbourne today and this dish is the perfect accompaniment to a cold afternoon 🙂

  83. Miriam Says:

    Amy Hi there, glad to have brought a little warmth to you there in Melbourne. Best wishes your way ! 🙂

  84. Miriam Says:

    Judy Hi there that it great news all round. I must admit that dried peas can be more than stubborn in terms of softening. Best of wishes your way Judy and I look forward to your comments on my blog ! 🙂

  85. Liz Pip Says:

    This is absolutely stunning ! yet another delicious meal thank you Miriam 🙂

  86. Miriam Says:

    Thanks so much for letting me know Liz ! I look forward to your future comments on my blog ! 🙂

  87. Vanessa Says:

    Thank you very much for this recipe, I will be trying it this week! Can’t wait to get your book btw.

  88. Miriam Says:

    You are most welcome Vanessa. Hope you enjoy my other recipes including the ones in my book as and when you receive it. Let me know when it reaches you and thanks for the purchase ! 🙂

  89. Cynthia Says:

    Wondering about the 100 grams of barley and split peas. Isn’t that about 3 1/2 ounces? Doesn’t seem like much. . .

  90. Miriam Says:

    Hi Cynthia, remember that grains do swell, by all means add more if you wish and enjoy ! 🙂

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