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Instant Pot Lentil Barley Minestrone

My mom’s minestrone soup has always been one of my favorite foods. There is so much variety of colors and textures. Adding chewy barley makes it even better, as I recently discovered! Think of it as the perfect blend between beef barley soup and minestrone.

There are some pretty bland minestrone soup recipes out there, but this one is not one of them! It’s tomato-y, herby, and well-seasoned. WAY better than Olive Garden’s, which is one of those bland versions in my opinion. This is the perfect healthy meal to serve to a mixed group, since no one will have time to miss meat or cheese with all that’s going on here. Add a crisp green salad and some crusty bread, and you have a really beautiful, complete meal.

It doesn’t get much healthier than pure vegetables, beans, lentils, and barley! It’s filling, yet packed with nutrition. Make it in the Instant Pot, or a crock pot, or on the stove.

It’s very forgiving and flexible, too. Use whatever vegetables you need to use up, the more variety the better!

To make it gluten-free simply omit the barley. You can use rice or quinoa if desired. Still delicious!

5 from 8 votes
minestrone lentil barley soup
Instant Pot Lentil Barley Minestrone
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Release time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 12 mins

A whole-food, plant-based delicious soup that is the perfect warm and hearty cold-weather meal!

Servings: 8 servings
Author: Faithful Plateful
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 cup chopped veggies (potatoes, zucchini, squash, peas, or others you like)
  • 3/4 tsp oregano
  • 3/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup green or brown lentils
  • 3/4 cup uncooked barley
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 can beans (kidney, white, or garbanzo)
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  1. Add all the ingredients except beans, spinach and lemon juice to the Instant Pot. Set to pressure cook for 20 minutes. When time is up, you can do a quick or natural release.

  2. Finish the soup by adding the beans, spinach, and squeezing in the juice of a lemon. Add salt and pepper to taste, and additional red pepper flakes if desired for a bit of heat.

To make in the Crock Pot:
  1. Put everything in a crock pot EXCEPT the beans, spinach and lemon juice. Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours, until barley and lentils are cooked through.

    Finish the soup by adding the beans, spinach, and squeezing in the juice of a lemon. Add salt and pepper to taste, and additional red pepper flakes if desired for a bit of heat.

To make stove-top:
  1. In a soup pot, saute the onion, carrots, celery tomato paste in a splash of water. Cook until onions are soft, about 7-10 minutes.

  2. Add the chopped vegetables, garlic, oregano, and thyme. Cook for about 2 minutes. Then add the tomatoes, lentils, barley, broth, water, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

  3. Bring the soup to a simmer, and let simmer on low heat about 40 minutes, or until lentils and barley are cooked through. Stir occasionally to prevent settled vegetables from burning.

  4. Finish the soup by adding the beans, spinach, and squeezing in the juice of a lemon. Add salt and pepper to taste, and additional red pepper flakes if desired for a bit of heat.


Adapted from Cookie and Kate’s Minestrone Soup. 

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  1. I made this last night and love it!! What is the reason for the lemon? I don’t cook very much so I was confused! I used everything in the recipe and it is so delicious! Thank you!

    1. I’m so glad you liked it! A little acid (like lemon juice) really brightens the flavor of soups. It’s optional, though!

    2. SO delicious! Everyone loved it, even my littles. I did it in the instant pot and I added an extra 2 cups of broth. Next time I think I’ll chop the spinach a little (just personal preference). And I forgot the lemon juice so I’m going to add that next time. So yummy! This will for sure be a repeat recipe for us.

      1. So happy you all enjoyed it! My toddler loves it, too, and it makes me feel good to watch her eat all those veggies and lentils by the spoonful (pretty unusual for her!).

  2. Minestrone soup is a favorite of ours, but the addition of barley and lentils was new to me, and I LOVE the change. Barley is just plain delicious anyway, and lentils give it additional nutrition. This is our new minestrone recipe.

  3. This is really delicious, thank you! A dollop of miso made it wonderfully tasty and hearty.

    1. Such a good idea! I’m trying to consume more miso for the good gut health benefits. I’ll have to start addig it to soups!

  4. This was so great! Awesome, I’d say! I threw in any veggie I had in my refrigerator. Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  5. How satisfying! I️ love that I could make it in the instant pot. I️ love how filling it was. The flavor was great! I️ really have nothing I️ would change about it. Thanks Faith!

  6. Absolutely delicious! Converted my mom to lentils with this soup! She’s not a daring eater. It shows how healthy recipes can taste great. Thanks 😊

  7. This soup is definitely one of our ultimate FAVORITES from Faith’s recipes! Adults love it, kids love it, babies love it, even picky eaters love it! We make this soup time and time again and it never fails. Love this soup! Recipe is perfect as is.

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