Mushroom Lentil Barley Stew is the perfect hearty, warming, and earthy dish, loaded with meaty mushrooms, chewy barley, and protein-packed lentils. This stew is tailor-made for those chilly autumn and winter days!
I have an obsession with my recipe for spiced lentils and barley, primarily because, individually, both of these items contain protein, but they don’t constitute a complete option. However, when combined, they create a complete plant-based protein because each contains the essential amino acid the other lacks. You can pair grains like rice, barley, oats, wheat, rye, and corn with legumes such as lentils to create a complete protein, as they provide the cysteine and methionine that lentils lack, while lentils supply the lysine that grains lack. It’s ideal to consume complete proteins, which contain all nine types of amino acids you need to get from your food.
I also adore these spiced lentils because the flavors and textures meld together beautifully, making them perfect for meal prep and keeping on hand. I enjoy finding ways to make my recipes versatile and transform them into various dishes, just like this one, which takes a cooked lentil and barley dish and combines it with other exciting ingredients to create an easy, satisfying, and comforting mushroom stew.
The stew can be stored in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to two months. It’s delicious on its own, but it’s also fantastic when served with olive oil-toasted bread and melted gruyere on top!
Mushroom Lentil Barley Stew Ingredients
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: My preferred fat for cooking. Ensure it’s of high quality; you don’t want to use any imitation varieties.
- Thick-cut Smoked Ham (optional): Adds a smoky flavor and a meaty texture to the soup.
- Onion, Carrot, and Celery: This trio of vegetables, known as “soffritto,” provides the soup with a delightful aromatic base.
- Mushrooms: I adore using brown baby bellas for this, but I also recommend using a variety of wild mushrooms for varying meaty mushroom textures.
- Baharat: A warm spice blend from the Middle East that typically includes black pepper, cardamom, cloves, cumin, nutmeg, coriander, and paprika. It’s used in the spiced lentils and barley mix and is included in the stew to enhance its flavor, as it complements all the ingredients so well.
- Smoked Paprika: Elevates the cozy, meaty flavor from the lentils and mushrooms and complements the Baharat spice mix.
- Spiced Lentil and Barley: This saves you time and effort since you already have this portion of the dish prepared. If you make it specifically for this dish, you can freeze the leftover amount for another day.
- White Wine (optional): It helps deglaze all the delicious flavors stuck to the bottom of the pan and adds depth of flavor to the soup.
- Vegetable Broth: Also crucial for enhancing the depth of flavor, but if you don’t have any, water works just as well.