Discover how to create a unique and heartwarming gift with this easy lentil barley soup mix. All you need are basic pantry ingredients, a jar and the beautiful printable tags for for the perfect presentation. Great for anytime your friends and family would enjoy their own homemade, warming soup - holidays, hostess gifts, new baby, or just because. If you need gluten free, simply sub brown rice for the barley - a Lentil Rice Soup tag option is provided!
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How about a unique and delicious food gift that won't break the bank? This easy lentil barley soup mix is perfect for the foodie in your life - or anyone who would appreciate having dinner planned for a night (hand firmly raised).
You'll appreciate that the mix is straightforward to make and highly economical using simple ingredients you may already have on hand, while they'll appreciate that all you have to add is water (with options for vegetables and cooked meat they may want to add).
It's really easy to adjust the mix for those on gluten free diets, vegans, and those on plant-based diets with the simple substitutions provided below.
And it's nice to have a healthy option as a food gift, especially at the holidays or when you'd like to give the gift of a meal to a family that could use the blessing.
Another idea: Make a couple of jars for your own pantry shelf! They would be perfect on busy winter nights and also would be easy to make if you lose power - just heat with water and eat as-is or add a can of cooked chicken.
Find all the instructions for putting together this unique gift-in-a-jar, along with the free printable for the instruction tags to tie onto the jars - and also what it looks like when made into soup!
Detailed quantities and instructions for the lentil barley soup mix are included in the full recipe box below, but here are a few extra tips for gifting and printing the tags:
Ingredients & Substitutions
Here's what you'll need to make two jars:
- 2 pint-size (16 ounce) jars - even though it seems small, both barley and lentils expand when cooked so a pint jar of mix will make about 6 servings! Use regular mason-type jars like this or try fun shaped jars like this.
- Pearled barley - lots of nutrition in this, even though it's been hulled (see FAQs for more about this), but barley does have gluten so if you need gluten free use an equal amount of brown rice (not white, it will cook too fast).
- Brown lentils - a nutrition-packed legume that doesn't need to be soaked, making it perfect for a mix like this. If you'd like to use a different kind of lentil, pick one that cooks in the same amount of time as brown, like black lentils or lentils de Puy.
- Dry chicken bouillon - using this makes the mix only need water to make instead of having to add chicken broth, BUT standard dry bouillon or cubes have a lot of yucky ingredients in them. I did a lot of research and found a couple of dried broth options (this one or this one with a few more seasonings) as well as a plant based chicken flavored dried bouillon that have good reviews and decent ingredients. You can also search out a vegetable bouillon, but be sure to check the ingredients.
- Dried minced onion
- Dried tomatoes (not in oil) - if you dried tomatoes from your garden (and didn't store them in olive oil like this) then you can use those.
- Seasonings - basil, oregano, rosemary, garlic powder (I prefer granulated garlic) and black pepper. If you know the tastes of who you're giving the jars to, you can add a few crushed red pepper flakes for a bit spicier soup.
- Printed labels (found below) and twine or ribbon to tie them on the jars.
How to Make Lentil Barley Soup Mix Jar Gift
Mix the seasonings together in a small bowl. Then layer half of the remaining mix ingredients in each jar in this order:
- Dry bouillon
- Dried onions
- Dried tomatoes
TIP: use a large canning funnel to make adding the ingredients to the jars easy.
Seal jars with lids, print out tags and attach them with ribbon.
Printable Tags for Jars
To keep the tags the most useable for variations, the printable page includes four tags with the original lentil barley soup and four with the lentil brown rice variation. You'll also find a simple "dried bouillon" ingredient so you'd be free to use chicken, vegetable or other kind of dried bouillon.
Click on the image of the tags below to open in a new window and download to your computer. (Or click here to open.)
How to Print and Cut Out Tags
- There will be two pages with the name on front with a "to and from" area and the cooking directions on the back - print back to back.
- Use a heavyweight paper or light cardstock for best results.
- Use a hole punch in an upper corner for the tag hole, thread with twine or a ribbon and tie around the top of the jar.
- If you notice that the front and back tags don't match up exactly, don't worry - it doesn't matter after cutting.
- TIP: add a date on the back, too, so they can remember how old it is if they don't use it right away.
How to make soup with the mix
Pour the contents of the jar into a 3 or 4 quart pot (the stock may have hardened a bit - use a spoon to mix it up first if needed).
Add water, sliced carrots (or other veg) and cooked chicken or sausage if desired.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook for 35 to 40 minutes until barley and lentils are tender.
So easy! Wouldn't it be great to have this ready and waiting for a night you need a warm, nourishing meal?
Lentils are rich in fiber, potassium, folate, and antioxidants - and while barley has gluten, it's high in protein, lipids, vitamins and minerals as well as being full of antioxidants with anti-inflammatory characteristics (source).
If you were to just make the soup, yes - you'll need to cook the soup 40-45 minutes until the hulled barley is tender. But hulled barley should be soaked a few hours before using, so it doesn't work in this gift in a jar.
Note: While hulled barley is whole and contains more fiber and nutrients than refined pearled barley, pearled barley is probably one of the most nutritious refined grains available with a lot of fiber and nutrients even after hulling.
Brown rice is a perfect substitute for barley in this recipe, since it needs a similar cooking time and has nutty, chewy texture. This option is included in the printable tags.
More Inexpensive Jar Gift Ideas
Looking for more gift mixes recipes? Here are a few favorites (or you can see all the published gifts in jars here):
- Whole Wheat Beer Bread Mix (With or Without Alcohol)
- Rosemary Focaccia Bread: Handmade Gift In A Jar
- Red Beans And Rice Gift In A Jar
- Cranberry Nut Muffin Mix Jar Gift with Printable Tags
- Peppermint Fudge Brownie Mix Jar Gift (+ Double Fudge Variation)
Easy Lentil Barley Soup Mix Recipe
- 2 pint (16 ounce) jars
- large funnel
- printed out labels
- scissors and ribbon or twine
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 1 cup pearl barley or brown rice for gluten free diets*
- 1/2 cup instant chicken bouillon or dried stock**
- 1/3 cup dried minced onion
- 1/2 cup chopped dried tomatoes
To Add Later:
- 6 cups water
- 3 carrots, sliced
- optional chopped vegetables: cabbage, cauliflower, kale, (and/or spinach added at end of cooking)
- 1½ cups cooked chicken or cooked sausage, optional
- salt to taste (depending on the saltiness of the broth)
- Mix the seasonings (basil through red pepper flakes, if using) in a small bowl.
- Layer HALF the remaining ingredients in each pint jar in this order: Lentils (1/2 cup), Barley (1/2 cup), Bouillon (1/4 cup), Dry Onion (eyeball half of the 1/3 cup), Dried Tomatoes (1/4 cup), and top each jar with half of the mixed seasonings from the small bowl.
- Add lids to the jars and attach a label to each (filling out the "to and from") with twine or ribbon. TIP: Write the date made on the back of the label for storage purposes.
To Make Later:
- Pour the contents of the jar into a 3 or 4 quart pot (the stock and onions may have hardened a bit - use a spoon to mix it up first if needed).
- Add water, sliced carrots (or other vegetables, if using) and cooked chicken or sausage if desired.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and cook, covered, for 35 to 40 minutes or until barley (or rice) and lentils are tender.
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