Slow-Cooker Bean, Kale & Barley Soup


Beans and kale are packed into each bite of this hearty slow-cooker soup. Barley adds a chewiness to provide texture, while dried mushrooms lend an earthiness and depth. Finishing with acidic lemon juice brightens the flavors.

Slowcooker Bean Kale and Barley Soup in a ladle
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
8 hrs 35 mins


  • 1 ¼ cups dried bean soup mix (see Note)

  • ½ cup dried shiitake mushrooms

  • 3 cups water

  • 8 cups vegetable broth

  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion

  • 1 cup finely chopped carrot

  • ¾ cup finely chopped scrubbed Yukon Gold potato

  • ½ cup pearl barley, rinsed

  • ¼ cup white wine

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic

  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper

  • ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • ½ teaspoon salt plus 1/8 teaspoon

  • 1 (4 inch) Parmesan rind

  • 4 cups finely chopped curly kale

  • ½ cup chopped fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley or chives, plus whole parsley leaves for garnish

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice


  1. If your dried bean soup mix contains any kidney beans, remove them for another use (see Note). Combine the bean soup mix, mushrooms and water in a large bowl; soak for 4 hours or up to 8 hours. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl; reserve 2 cups of the soaking water. Set aside the soaked beans. Remove and discard the mushroom stems; finely chop the mushrooms and set aside.

  2. Combine broth, onion, carrot, potato, barley, wine, garlic, Italian seasoning, oregano, pepper, crushed red pepper, salt, Parmesan rind and the reserved 2 cups soaking water, beans and chopped mushrooms in an 8-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook until the beans and potatoes are tender, 4 hours on High or 8 hours on Low.

  3. Stir in kale; cover and cook until the kale is tender, 10 to 15 minutes on High or 20 to 30 minutes on Low. Remove and discard the Parmesan rind. Stir in herbs and lemon juice. Divide the soup among 6 bowls; garnish with parsley leaves, if desired.


8-quart slow cooker


Look for packages of dried bean soup mix, a combination of different varieties of dried beans, lentils and peas, with other dried beans at your grocery store. Pick out any kidney beans before starting this recipe. Dried kidney beans contain a toxic level of lectins and need to be boiled for at least 30 minutes to make them safe to consume—most slow cookers don't get that hot. Read more about how to cook kidney beans safely in a slow cooker.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

304 Calories
2g Fat
61g Carbs
15g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Serving Size 1 1/2 cups
Calories 304
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 61g 22%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 15g 30%
Total Fat 2g 3%
Vitamin A 6831IU 137%
Vitamin C 30mg 33%
Vitamin D 4IU 1%
Vitamin E 1mg 4%
Folate 41mcg 10%
Vitamin K 161mcg 134%
Sodium 451mg 20%
Calcium 111mg 9%
Iron 5mg 28%
Magnesium 33mg 8%
Potassium 321mg 7%
Zinc 1mg 9%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

Related Articles