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Healthy and hearty soups don’t need to be a bowl of tasteless broth with a few chopped vegetables thrown in for colour!  Healthy and hearty soups can be like this Squash and Kale Barley Soup – thick, chunky, and almost stew-like!

Welcome back, Dear Reader!  It’s my most favourite time of the year – almost.  I love when the weather turns cold and the days get shorter.  I get overly excited for everything that’s pumpkin spice or gingerbread.  I love to dig out my sweaters and jackets and get them ready for the first frost.

I love to prepare and eat more soups, like this Squash and Kale Barley Soup, for example.  I love being able to crochet with yarns instead of threads.  (Crocheters will know what I’m talking about!)  Oh, and I almost forgot, I love that I no longer have to make excuses to wear my reading socks.

Reading socks?  You’ve never heard of them?  I’m not sure who came up with the name or who started to sell them first, but here in Canada, they can be found at Indigo.  I have three pairs and I absolutely love them.  I even wear them in July and August!

I’m a big guy, so really I should be  warm or to the point of sweating most of the time.  And, I do sweat in the summertime, like everyone else, but not excessively.  In fact, most of the time, I’m cold.  John.e is the complete opposite; he’s always overheated – especially when we eat soup for dinner!

Not me.  I can eat a big bowl of piping hot soup, while wearing my reading socks, and covered with a heavy crocheted afghan.  In fact, I’m wearing a pair of my reading socks right now!

So, in addition to the socks, the sweaters, the shorter days, etc., the smells and the tastes of fall foods also greatly appeal to me.  (This post is starting to sound like that song in The Sound of Music… what’s it called?  My Favourite Things?)

A great dinnertime option, I would wager any time of the year, but more so during the cooler months, is my Squash and Kale Barley Soup.  This soup is dense, and has such a rich flavour.  The broth is thick and seasoned just perfectly.  And, the acorn squash basically melts in your mouth.

The only bad thing about this recipe is peeling the acorn squash.  What kind of witchcraft is required to easily peel an acorn squash?  The grocery store that I frequent, has already peeled and diced acorn squash readily available, but no, I had to be a hero and save the twenty five cents and buy a whole squash.

Lesson learned.  I won’t be doing that again!  My Dearest Reader, if you know of a way, please let me know.  I did a Google search for it, but didn’t come up with any method I hadn’t already tried.  Other than that, this soup is bliss, and I’m going to go ahead and say it’s also worth the blisters and cuts I have on my hands!

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Squash and Kale Barley Soup

Healthy and hearty soups don't need to be a bowl of tasteless broth with a few chopped vegetables thrown in for colour!  Healthy and hearty soups can be like this Squash and Kale Barley Soup - thick, chunky, and almost stew-like!
Course Main Course
Cuisine North American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 302kcal
Author Lord Byron's Kitchen


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 large acorn squash, peeled and cubed
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups quick cook barley
  • 4 cups frozen chopped kale, or 8 cups fresh kale finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped (plus more for garnish - optional)


  • In a large soup pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and onions.  Cook the onions until translucent - about 5 minutes. 
  • Add the garlic and acorn squash.  Stir and cook with the onions for 5 minutes.
  • Add the broth, salt, pepper, coriander, and oregano.  Stir to combine.  Place a lid on the pot and cook for 25 minutes, or until squash is almost cooked all the way through. 
  • Add the quick cook barley and kale.  Stir into the broth.  Place the lid back on the pot and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the lid.  Add the parsley and stir into the soup.  Turn off the heat and let the soup sit for 5 minutes.
  • Serve with fresh parsley for garnish (optional) and some good crusty bread.


Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1353mg | Potassium: 458mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 5190IU | Vitamin C: 59.2mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 2.6mg

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