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Italian Lentil Barley Soup-in-a-Jar

I’ve been toying with soup-in-a-jar mixes for weeks in preparation for Christmas. They need to look pretty in a jar, fill up the jar exactly, and make a delicious soup. Several  other posts I’ve seen for soup mixes never seem to show or talk about the soup when it’s actually made–but that’s the most important part in my opinion!

This gift idea is perfect for busy families, people who don’t like to cook much, new parents, college students, and those who like healthy, quick food. It’s extra perfect for those who avoid sugar or gluten or would prefer a healthier option than a plate of cookies or fudge. (Although, there is gluten in barley, so sub brown rice or quinoa if that’s an issue).

To take it up a notch, you could gift it with a loaf of your favorite bread to serve the soup with, or attach a wooden spoon or ladle.

Just go to your grocery store’s dry beans aisle (or bulk section) and pick up a bag of barley, split peas, lentils, and wild rice. The rest of the ingredients are just spices and some bouillon cubes. Easy!

The finished result is a tomato-y, flavorful bowl of soup with a delicious texture from the lentils, wild rice and barley. I’m making some of these soup mixes for easy dinners for us to make next February when we have a newborn and I won’t want to be chopping vegetables.



Click here for the free download of printable tags to go on your soup mix in a jar: Jar Mix Labels

One page has a Christmas option, the next page is generic for any time of year. Happy soup-making!

4.86 from 7 votes
Italian Lentil Soup-in-a-Jar
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins

This soup mix is perfect to give away or keep. It makes a delicious tomato barley lentil soup that is hearty and flavorful. Best of all, you can have a hot dinner with only pantry ingredients, no chopping, and just 20 minutes in the Instant Pot. WHAT a gift!

Course: Soup
Servings: 5 servings
Author: Faithful Plateful
  • 1/2 cup green or brown lentils
  • 1/2 cup barley (sub brown rice or quinoa for gluten free)
  • 1/2 cup split peas
  • 1/3 cup wild rice or a wild rice blend
  • 1 TBSP dried minced onion
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tsp vegetable boullion (or enough cubes to make 4 cups of broth)
  1. Layer the ingredients in order in a pint-size jar. Attach the following instructions.

To make the soup:
  1. Add contents of jar to a crock pot or instant pot with 7 cups water, 1 6-oz can tomato paste, and 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes. Pressure cook for 20 minutes (quick or natural release) or slow-cook on low for 6 hours. Makes 5-6 servings. Add more salt and pepper to taste, and red pepper flakes if desired. Delicious served with your favorite crusty bread.

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  1. This was delicious! I saw you post it on Instagram as a gift idea, and I loved that! My fiance said we should try it before giving it away, and we were not disappointed. It was super easy to throw together. The only vegetable bouillon I could find (without palm oil) was low sodium, so we had to add a little more salt for flavor. I also forgot barley, so I subbed 1/3 cup of quinoa and it worked out just right. I’m not a fan of the texture of tomatoes, so I used a 14 oz. can of tomato sauce instead. Still excellent, and we will definitely be making again!

    1. Super helpful feedback, thank you! So glad you liked it and it was a flexible recipe. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

  2. This sounds so yummy! I have a question about rinsing the rice and lentils…so you do that before you package it? I’m assuming yes-but wasn’t sure. ❤️ Thanks!

    1. No, rinsing them would make them go bad, they need to be totally dry. I think it’s fine to dump it straight into soup, but you could always package the spices up separately so the other ingredients could be rinsed first.

  3. We had this a few weeks ago, and my husband who is not so keen on eating wfpb was very happy with this soup and went back for 3rd. Definitely a keeper for both ease and taste! Thank you for all of your hard work in putting together doable great tasting recipes!

  4. This was absolutely divine and I’ll be making it again for sure! One question, I’ll be gifting this to someone who doesn’t have an instant pot or crock pot (!!) . Can you tell me your recommendations on cooking this old school on the stove? Thanks!

    1. I think you could just combine the ingredients in a pot and simmer on the stove until the lentils are tender. Should work just like a crock pot but faster. So glad you enjoyed it and are gifting a healthy meal to someone!

  5. This soup was delicious…but I’ve made it twice now and my split peas come out not cooked enough…any suggestions? I’m using a crockpot and I changed to 9 cups of water and 8 hours the second time and still no luck

    1. Hmm..your split peas could possibly be older and harder? Maybe try soaking them first for a couple hours (which is tricky if you have it all together in a jar). You could also just skip the peas and replace with lentils. Sorry that has happened!

  6. I’ve made this for Christmas gifts several times. I made it for ourselves first to make sure we liked it, and we did! It’s a gift I can feel good about giving.

  7. Need to make a batch of these for tomorrow and don’t have bouillon cubes — can I just add 7 cups of preferred stock to the recipe in place of the water, or should it be some kind of water/stock ratio? Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  8. I haven’t made this yet, but I will. Just offering another gluten-free replacement for the barley; whole sorghum. It cooks in the same time as pearled barley and has similar texture too. I can soups for a relative that needs gluten-free recipes. I have used brown rice with success, but the sorghum is much better, and quinoa gets mushy over time.

  9. I’m planning to make 24 of these as “party favors” for a board meeting. After I purchased all of the ingredients, I realized my jars are 32 oz instead of 16 oz. If I double the ingredients, I assume I would also need to double the water, tomato paste and tomatoes but would the cooking time stay the same? If not, how much would I need to increase it? Thanks so much!

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