Golden Barley Stew

Golden Barley Stew

This hearty, warming stew is the perfect thing to make as the weather turns colder. Sweetness from the butternut squash perfectly balances the pungent ginger and garlic, the earthy turmeric and sage, and the spice of the curry powder.

Add a little lemon juice at the end to brighten it up if you like – it’s equally good both ways.


  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 6 cups (375 g) leeks, chopped (for tips on how to wash leeks, see below)
  • 1 (115 g) medium cooking onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp (20 g) ginger, peeled and minced
  • 4 cloves (25 g) garlic, minced
  • 3 cups (350 g) butternut squash
  • 2 cups (325 g) cooked chickpeas
  • 1/2 tsp dry sage
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 12 cups veggie stock
  • 1 1/2 cups (325 g) pearl barley
  • 2 tbsp miso
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add leeks, onion, ginger, garlic and cook until softened.
  3. Add sage, curry powder and turmeric. Stir and cook for a few seconds.
  4. Add squash, chickpeas, stock and barley. Stir.
  5. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook until barley is tender, approximately 1 hour.
  6. Add miso and stir to dissolve. Add lemon juice if using.
  7. Garnish with green onions.

Prep Leeks

Cut off the roots and the tops. I’ve seen some recipes that ask you to cut off all of the green leaves, but I like to use the green parts too. Discard just the top third of the green part. Then cut the leeks in half lengthwise and slice into half moons. Put the sliced leeks in a large bowl and cover with water, swishing them around with your hands to separate the pieces and loosen any dirt. Let the leeks float for a few minutes so that the dirt sinks to the bottom of the bowl. Lift the leeks out of the water, transferring them to a colander and discarding the rinsing water. Clean the bowl, then return the leeks to the bowl, cover with water, and repeat the procedure until they’re clean. Don’t just pour the leeks from the bowl into the colander, because you’ll be pouring the dirt right back over them. By lifting them out of the bowl, you’ll leave the dirt behind.

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