Savory and Nutritious: Barley Lentil Tahini Soup Recipe

Hark ye, ye citizens of the culinary land! Allow me to regale thee with a new soup recipe. Nay, this is not any ordinary soup – it bears the very essence of Mesopotamian flavors. What delightsome wonders lie within shall enamor every palate, even those who tread an herbivorous path.

This ancient land has bestowed much to our world, giving birth to civilization itself. And now, we have the honor to savor its gastronomic rainbows. Behold, Mesopotamian Barley, Lentil and Tahini Soup – a tribute worthy of royalty.

The marriage of lentils and barley has been celebrated since time immemorial by Mesopotamians, as they provide a hearty and wholesome meal that keeps one satiated for hours. The addition tahini brings forth its creamy textures and nutty flavors which blend harmoniously with the grains. But let not our journey end here, for we also throw in fresh vegetables and spices that invigorate this classic dish.

As I take you on a culinary expedition through time and space, know that this recipe is not just about eating but rediscovering a history that deserves to be preserved. Dip thy spoons into the pot and savor each spoonful – let the warmth of this mesmeric broth enwrap your senses and take you on a journey into ancient times.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Mesopotamian Barley, Lentil and Tahini Soup (Vegan)
Mesopotamian Barley, Lentil and Tahini Soup (Vegan)

Oh friends, allow me to ignite your taste buds with the most magnificent soup that has ever graced your lips! The Mesopotamian Barley, Lentil and Tahini soup is a vegan delight that will send you on a journey to the Silk Road. If you are looking for a dish that is packed-full of flavor and healthy ingredients, then this recipe is for you.

One of the reasons why I believe you’ll love this recipe is that it takes you on a trip back in time to the ancient Mesopotamian era, where barley was a prime ingredient in soups. The addition of tahini elevates this dish, giving it an even more full-bodied flavor. With ingredients like fresh cilantro and parsley, this soup is packed full of taste with every spoonful.

Apart from the tantalizing flavors, the recipe is vegan – perfect for anyone who prefers plant-based meals. By using purely vegetables as stock, the recipe guarantees a nutritious and tasty meal that can fit into anyone’s diet plan. Whether you’re a vegan or not, trust me; one spoonful of this warm goodness will have you converted.

Lastly, the Mesopotamian Barley, Lentil and Tahini Soup is versatile and provides a perfect balance of carbohydrates and protein. This Lebanese-inspired meal hosts various ingredient substitutes like red lentils and chickpeas which makes for an excellent alternative protein source. It can also be seasoned without salt or spice for those watching their sodium intake.

So come with me on this vegetarian journey by trying out this curried lentil vegetable soup. You’ll be making history in your kitchen while enjoying centuries-old recipes made with modern-day ingredients – wholesome deliciousness that will make this fantastic soup one of your favorite recipes!

Ingredient List

 Indulge in a bowl of warmth with this Mesopotamian Barley, Lentil and Tahini Soup.
Indulge in a bowl of warmth with this Mesopotamian Barley, Lentil and Tahini Soup.

Mesopotamian Barley, Lentil and Tahini Soup, is a delicious vegan soup recipe that combines various flavors and textures, resulting in a satisfying and wholesome meal. As we travel back in time to the ancient Mesopotamian era, this soup pays homage to its origins with mesopotamian barley as the star ingredient. The recipe includes various herbs, spices and vegetables. From fresh parsley, cilantro and dill to tahini sauce and ground turmeric, this soup has a range of ingredients that add their unique touch of flavor to the dish. Here’s a complete list of all the ingredients that you will need to make this satisfying soup!


  • 1 cup dry green lentils
  • 1 cup mesopotamian barley
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can (15 oz) dried garbanzo beans
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 leeks, finely chopped
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter ghee
  • Fresh cilantro, parsley, or dill for garnishing
  • 2 tbsp tahini sauce
  • Juice of one lime

The Recipe How-To

 Dive into a vegan twist on a traditional Middle Eastern soup.
Dive into a vegan twist on a traditional Middle Eastern soup.

Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get started on making this delicious Mesopotamian Barley, Lentil and Tahini Soup. Here’s how to make it happen:

Step 1: Prep the Ingredients

Before starting the recipe, make sure you have all the ingredients at hand. Rinse 1 cup of dry green lentils and soak them in water for about 10-15 minutes. In a separate bowl, pour boiling water over 1/2 cup of dried garbanzo beans. Let them soften for about 30 minutes or until the water has cooled down. Meanwhile, chop 1 large onion and two chopped leeks into pieces.

Step 2: Make Soup Base

In a large pot over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once hot, add the prepared onions and leeks. Cook for 5-7 minutes until slightly browned. Add in 3 cloves of minced garlic and cook for another minute.

Step 3: Spices Time!

Now is the time to add all those magical spices that will bring the soup to life. Add 1 tablespoon of ground turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

Step 4: The Vegetables Dance

Add diced tomatoes (about 8 ounces) to the pot and increase heat to high. If necessary, you may need to add more oil or some vegetable stock if you like. Stir everything together and let it cook for a while before adding Swiss chard cut into ribbons (one bunch is enough) and minced fresh herbs such as cilantro, dill, and parsley.

Step 5: Barley Time

Now, drain the soaked lentils and garbanzo beans, then pour them into the pot with vegetables. Next up is barley – we are using ancient Mesopotamian barley which has a nice nutty flavour, but you can use pearl barley too- add this now.

Step 6: Watering Time

The final step would be pouring water into your pot until it covers everything by addition about an inch more.

Step 7: Cooking Time!

Cook everything together under a low flame for about one hour until both lentils and barley are cooked through but still have their shape.

Step 8: Getting Creamy

When done, take out two cups of soup liquid from pot–this will be added later on–and blend everything else in a blender or using an immersion blender until creamy.

Step 9: Adding Tahini

Return the mixture to the pot that was emptied earlier, and then stir in half a cup of tahini. Be careful –you don’t want it to boil!

You’re done! Your Mesopotamian Barley Lentil Tahini Soup is ready to enjoy! Drizzle some fresh lemon juice on top, garnish

Substitutions and Variations

 This soup is jam-packed with flavor and nutrients!
This soup is jam-packed with flavor and nutrients!

Good sirs and madams, lend me your ears! As with any recipe, it is always possible to make substitutions and variations to suit your taste buds or pantry. Fear not, for I shall share with thee some suggestions for this Mesopotamian Barley, Lentil and Tahini Soup.

If thou dost not prefer tahini, thou canst substitute it with another nut or seed butter such as almond or peanut butter. Methinks it would add a pleasant nutty flavour.

For those seeking a hearty meal with added protein, try adding chicken or beef broth instead of vegetable stock. For the vegans in our midst, vegetable soup is a wise option. It will still be delicious!

Should thou find thyself without barley or red lentils, consider other ancient grains such as farro or wheat berries. They shall provide similar texture without deviating too greatly from the original recipe.

For additional depth of flavor and nutrition, diced mushrooms or finely chopped swiss chard could be added during the last few minutes of cooking. These produce happiness in the mouth.

If thou art fond of spice and dare to venture beyond Mesopotamia, cumin, coriander and turmeric curry powders could be added to create a unique twist on this soup. Some more ideas are parsley and diced tomatoes for added freshness begging to be tried.

Now that you have these ideas swirling within your mind’s eye, thou may now proceed confidently into making thine own personalized version of this vegan lentil barley soup. Happy cooking!

Serving and Pairing

 Perfect for chilly evenings or for a cozy night in.
Perfect for chilly evenings or for a cozy night in.

Oh, the joy of sharing a hearty soup with family and friends! And this Mesopotamian Barley, Lentil and Tahini Soup is one that will warm your soul with every spoonful. But what best accompanies it?

I suggest serving the soup with a slice or two of crusty bread, such as ciabatta or baguette – this way, you can dip it into the soup and savor all its comforting flavors. If you’re looking for gluten-free options, try making some cornbread or gluten-free crackers at home.

The soup’s earthy and nutty flavor pairs well with a bright and crunchy salad, such as a mixed greens salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, and a tangy vinaigrette. Alternatively, you could try a roasted vegetable medley, which would complement the soup’s savory notes.

If you want to take it up a notch, why not pair this flavorful soup with a glass of your favorite red wine? It would be great with a dry Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Another option would be an amber ale or dry cider to bring out the nuttiness and maltiness in both the soup and the beverage.

Lastly, don’t forget to garnish the soup with some fresh herbs such as chopped parsley or cilantro to add brightness and freshness. A squeeze of fresh lime juice will also give it a nice tangy kick.

Remember though, food pairing is not an exact science – feel free to get creative and experiment with different combinations until you find what works best for you. Just focus on enjoying this delicious vegan lentil barley soup and savoring its ancient Mesopotamian origins alongside your loved ones!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 On a tight budget? This soup is cost-effective and filling.
On a tight budget? This soup is cost-effective and filling.

Methinks, if thou art planning ahead of time, it is possible to make this hearty soup in advance, in fact, it may even benefit from more time to bring forth all the flavors. The barley and lentils will continue to absorb the broth as it sits and thou will be rewarded with a more sumptuous texture if properly stored.

To store, I recommend ladling the soup into airtight containers and keeping them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If thou wish to extend its shelf life beyond that or would like to savor it at another time, thou canst also place the containers in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When reheating, I recommend doing it gently over low heat on the stove so as not to break down its exquisite taste. With a little stirring, thy soup will soon be ready to be served again. If desired, thou may freshen it with some extra lime juice, cilantro, or chopped parsley. Trust me when I say that there shall be no need for any additional seasonings since the spices have had ample time to meld together during storage.

So fear not, my dear vegan fellows for this soup may easily become part of thy weekly meal prep routine without any fuss or difficulty whatsoever!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Don't have all the ingredients? Don't worry, substitutions can easily be made.
Don’t have all the ingredients? Don’t worry, substitutions can easily be made.

Verily, fellow cooks, every culinary endeavor requires care and skill to ensure a delicious outcome. I, your humble assistant, have gathered some tips to guarantee that your Mesopotamian Barley, Lentil and Tahini Soup will be a success.

Firstly, mayhap thou art tempted to use canned lentils or garbanzo beans, however this could lead to mushy soup. Therefore, I highly recommend using dry lentils and beans that have been soaked overnight before cooking.

Secondly, the Mesopotamian barley in this soup needs more time to cook than the lentils or garbanzo beans. To ensure that all ingredients cook evenly together tenderly, I advise adding the barley earlier in the recipe so it is cooked properly.

Thirdly, as there are plenty of vegetables included in the recipe already, thou art welcomed to add other seasonal vegetables that thou might fancy such as zucchini or peppers. Nevertheless, take care not to alter the liquid-to-vegetable ratio too much as it can change the consistency of the soup.

Fourthly, doth not forget one of the essential ingredients: tahini! To incorporate it smoothly into the soup without causing clumps, mix it with some of the soup broth before adding it into the pot.

Fifthly, if thou enjoy thy meals with a little spice (as I do), adding a pinch of cayenne pepper could provide an extra kick to thy soup without compromising its harmony.

Lastly, while any vegetable stock can be used for this recipe, homemade vegetable stock is highly recommended for extra depth of flavor. And do not underestimate the power of herbs! Fresh parsley and cilantro added at the end creates more freshness and balance in flavors.

Fear not my dear friends! Follow these tips and thine Mesopotamian Barley, Lentil and Tahini Soup shall surely impress all who taste it.

Bottom Line

Hark! All ye vegan foodies and those seeking to embark on a culinary journey to the ancient lands of Mesopotamia! This Mesopotamian Barley, Lentil and Tahini Soup recipe will transport you on a vibrant and flavorful ride through the Silk Road. The ingredients work together in harmony, creating an unforgettable dish that will truly satisfy your palate.

Not only is this soup delicious, but it also offers numerous health benefits with its rich plant-based protein sources from the red lentils, barley, and garbanzo beans. Being purely vegan, it is a great meal for those who are health-conscious or want to reduce their meat consumption.

Remember, the secret to making an extraordinary meal lies within the execution of the recipe. When making this soup, I urge you to follow the instructions carefully and experiment with some substitutions and variations until it suits your taste buds.

In closing, dear readers, let me encourage you to embark on your very own vegetarian journey by trying out more curried lentil and vegetable soup recipes like this one. I hope that this recipe has inspired you to try something different in your kitchen and take a detour down the Silk Road of cooking.

Mesopotamian Barley, Lentil and Tahini Soup (Vegan)

Mesopotamian Barley, Lentil and Tahini Soup (Vegan) Recipe

From Silk Road Cooking: A Vegetarian Journey by Najmieh Batmanglij. This is untrried by me so far, but I plan on making it this winter sometime. I'm wating to see if I get a handheld blender for Christmas.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mesopotamian
Calories 426.9 kcal



  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks, finely chopped (use both white and green parts)
  • 1 bird chiles, chopped or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 garlic cloves, cushed and peeled
  • 1/2 cup dried garbanzo beans
  • 12 cups vegetable stock or 12 cups water
  • 1 cup barley
  • 1/2 cup dry green lentils, picked over
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 cups fresh swiss chard, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice


  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped


  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, leeks, chili and garlic and stri fry for 10 minutes.
  • Add the chickpeas and vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
  • Add the barley, lentils, salt and pepper and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, partially cover and cook for 30 minutes until barley and lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the tomatoes and herbs, cover and simmer over low heat for 40 more minutes longer.
  • Add the tahini and lime juice.
  • Using a hand held mixer, plunge it into the pot and puree some of the ingredients.
  • If the soup is too thick, add some warm water and bring back to a boil. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding salt, pepper or lime juice as needed.
  • Just before serving, pour the sooup into a tureen or individual serving bowls. Garnish with black pepper and parsley or a sprig of your favorite herb.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 221gCalories: 426.9kcalCarbohydrates: 58.3gProtein: 16.3gFat: 16.4gSaturated Fat: 2.3gSodium: 1201mgFiber: 17gSugar: 6.3g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Beans, Grains, Lentils, Small Appliance, Vegan
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