Mesopotamian Barley, Lentil and Tahini Soup (Vegan)

"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."
photo by a user photo by a user
Ready In:
2hrs 20mins




  • 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.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Fantastic flavours! I halved this as I only cook for 2 and have plenty leftover for lunches. I also used kale instead of chard and had a few mushrooms I needed to use so threw them in. I thought it was fine without using the blender so didn't bother. I will be making this regularly! :)
  2. Lovely flavors. I multiplied this recipe by 4, and it made a very large stock pot full. I used a habanero I had and canned ceci beans instead of dried. I used some nice small french lentils and pearled barley. I used the rest of the ingredients as listed. This soup is surprisingly nice looking. I though that it might end up muddy looking, but it didn't. The fresh lime juice is a nice note, and the tahini was subtle. I didn't bother with the pureeing step, the soup had good body without. I did add in some baby spinach at the end, along with the chard which kept its' color. Thank you for posting this recipe, Ajo.
  3. First of all, there is no way this makes six servings. It's at least double that--this is a huge amount of soup. And that was after I scaled the recipe down by about 25%. I made a few other small changes. I used a minced jalepeno along with a little cayenne pepper. I used a can of garbanzos as I didn't realize the recipe called for dried beans. I didn't peel the tomatoes. I used dried dill. Also, there is nowhere in the instructions about when to add the chard (and I used kale because I couldn't find chard). So I added the kale right before I used the stick blender. The bottom line is that this is an excellent recipe, a very tasty and hearty soup that I will be enjoying for a long time. Thank you.


<p>I live with my hubby and three feline children in Oakland by Lake Merritt. <br /> <br /> <br />My rating system: <br />5 stars if the recipe works without having to make changes (my own subs just for personal preference do not count) <br />*New Rule: If hubby says "mmmm" or "this is good" without me asking if he likes it, it automatically gets five stars <br />4 stars if the recipe needs a minimal amount of changing because the recipe does not work the way it was written or if overall it just didn't WOW me. <br />3 stars and below if the recipe just does not work or if the instructions are not written clearly enough to make it. <br /> <br />Please know that I will change your recipe to fit my diet. I mean no disrespect, but since I have to diet I have to do it. I refuse to limit myself to recipes that already fit my diet and like the challenge of changing already existing recipes to be healthier. I will leave out the oil, leave out or replace the cheese and milk with a non-dairy alternative, and use whole grains. I will also leave out meat and broth and choose vegetarian, low sodium versions/alternatives. I still rate recipes that I make these changes to. <br /> <br />But, if I use a recipe as inspiration only- meaning I got a great idea from it but changed it all around- I generally will not give any stars but will put a little note stating what I did. I love to give credit where credit is due. <br /> <br />I don't deduct stars if I personally do not like an ingredient in the recipe. I don't make recipes that I think that I won't like, which is why you will probably notice that most of my ratings are pretty high. I think it is silly that people choose to make recipes that include ingredients that they don't like then rate them poorly saying "I don't care for..." Anyway, you get the idea. <br /> <br />I've participated in <br /> <br /><img src="" alt="" /> <br /> <br /><img src="" alt="" /> <br /><img src="" alt="" /> <br /> <br /><img src="" alt="" /></p>
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