Black Bean and Barley Soup with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

by simplylife on May 1, 2012

Not only do I love grocery shopping, but I also love putting the grocery items away.  I like to take a mental inventory of what we have available and know where each item is placed until it’s ready to be used.  This helps me remember what needs to be eaten and what recipes I’ve planned for the week.

It also ensures that when the time comes to cook the recipe we’ll still have the ingredients available.

My husband knows what foods we have by opening the fridge or pantry door and noticing whatever is within line-of-sight.  Translation: if he can’t see it in less than 3 seconds, it doesn’t exist.

So whenever I have an item purchased specifically for a recipe later in the week, I will strategically place it behind something.

There are two specific items I do this with repeatedly: chips and cheese.  We go through a large quantity of both.  So when I come home with a bag of chips that I want to remain more than 24 hours, I place them behind the cans of beans and know they will be safe.  The cheese usually goes directly behind the bag of apples and I know it will not be touched.

So when I received a box of six different bags of chips courtesy of Way Better Snacks to review I knew my husband would be thrilled to have “extra” chips to snack on.  I did, however, want to make sure at least one bag was served for a meal.

When the weather recently dropped into the 50’s last week, I knew a bowl of this Black Bean & Barley Soup would be the perfect use.  With roasted pumpkin seeds and shredded cheese on top, the chips were the perfect way to scoop-up so many different flavors into one bite!


Black Bean and Barley Soup with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

by Simply Life

Keywords: soup/stew entree vegetarian beans cheese Southwest


  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • Paprika, to taste
  • Chili powder, to taste
  • Dash of cayenne
  • Cumin, to taste
  • Oregano, to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup lightly salted roasted pumpkin seeds


1. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook 3 minutes. Add garlic and carrot and cook 1-2 minutes. Stir in paprika, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add barley. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until barley is tender. Stir in black beans and cilantro, and cook until beans are warmed through.

2. Serve in bowl and top with scallions, cheese and roasted pumpkin seeds. Enjoy!

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We served this soup with the Simply Unbeatable Blues chips.  The other flavors I received from Way Better Snacks were: Sweet Potato, Black Bean, Sweet Chili, No Salt, and Multi Grain.  Their chips are sprouted, which I learned can enhance the bio-availability of nutrients and aid in digestion.

All of their chips are vegan, gluten-free, certified kosher, all-natural and high in omega 3’s and whole grains.   I LOVE that they are proud of their ingredients and transparent enough to even highlight them on the back of the bag (info shown if for the Sweet Potato Chips)!…

My husband and I really enjoyed every flavor of these!  They always tasted incredibly fresh and full of flavor, and the different seeds and grains were visible throughout each chip.  They are definitely a new favorite snack that I would highly recommend!

Using the winner of Love Grown Foods is Anne Leth!

~Do you tend to forget about foods if they are not easily visible?

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  • Sam

    I definitely have a general idea of what’s in my pantry and my fridge. Although, I have the opposite problem–things that I know are there (and are in the front of the cupboard, right in front of my face) that I can’t seem to find. I search and search, digging through the cupboard. Only to stop, completely frustrated and see the item I was looking for in a place I’ve already looked.

    Delicious looking soup!

    • Simply Life

      I just read about your meal planning! Love the way to organize things! P.S. I haven’t been able to comment on your blog in a while – not sure why it’s not working for me?

  • itzyskitchen

    hahhahahahha. My husband is the same way. Occasionally he’ll hunt and find something I’m hiding, but usually hes a within site kind of guy. Black bean soup is one of my favorites. This is such a fun take

  • Belinda

    Making me realize…I need to get groceries! What a wonderful soup!!

  • Gina (Candid RD)

    I LOVE this recipe, pinning it now. AND I LOVE those chips! I sampled them at work the other day and they were a HUGE hit!

  • Ioanna

    The soup looks great! Although it feels like summer here! And not likely to change for the… hm… let’s say 6 months. But I have it bookmarked!
    If I may ask bulgar=bulgur=barley? My English is not that great and I would love to try the recipe.
    Thank you.

    • Simply Life

      So glad you like it! Oops! Thanks for catching that typo- they are not the same thing and I used barley in the recipe! Whoops- I will change that asap!

  • Colleen

    Delish looking!! And those chips sound so yummy!!! Hope the hubby doesn’t read this post or else he’ll know your storage secrets. 😉

    • Simply Life

      Haha, I think he does know them but still doesn’t even think to look! 🙂

  • Bee

    The chips look fantastic, and a great way to accompany the soup!

  • Elizabeth Polit

    I am so bad with not wasting food. It’s usually not a lot, but I feel bad when an apple or orange needs to go into the trash.

  • Anu Shoj

    wow this sounds interesting and inviting…and very healthy…luv ur pics

  • Junia Kim

    those chips look so healthy!!! haven’t seen that brand before. hahaha i love how you know the little quirks about your hubby. sooo cute.

  • Marissa

    Looks delicious and perfect for a Cinco celebration! I’ll have to add a dollop of sour cream to the top…

    • Simply Life

      Ooooh, that would be a great touch!

  • RebeccaSubbiah RD

    lovely soup and I hide choc mostly from myself 🙂

    • Simply Life

      Haha, I do that too sometimes 🙂

  • RebeccaSubbiah RD

    lovely soup

  • JoJo

    Nice strategy! I got a laugh out of this post since I tend to be that way. I could never remember if we have a specific ingredient in the fridge when I’m shopping! The soup looks tasty and healthy 😀

  • KelloggsFiberPlusKati

    Another great black bean inspired dish! I definitely forget about some of the ingredients in my pantry – especially those that I don’t tend to use that often, but keep around “just in case”. I never worry about black beans though – they are definitely one of my favorite fiber-rich options and they don’t last very long in my kitchen. 🙂

  • Kristen @ Swanky Dietitian

    This soup looks fantastic!
    And I am the worst at this. If I don’t see it, I completely forget about it. I am trying to be better about it though. Taking inventory before grocery shopping has been super helpful.

  • teri@managedmacros

    I love the addition of the roasted pumpkin seeds to this meal. It looks so hearty and rustic and you are right…the weather did turn a bit fall like didn’t it? We had chili last week bc it just felt right. I will have to keep my eyes peeled for those chips…my boy friend it the same way, chip hog! I would be the cheese lover in the family!! Great post and your pics are fantastic!

  • Sarah

    I love that you posted the ingredients too, looks like it’s all really good stuff! I’ve been really careful at the moment about reading the food labels before I buy things, so it’s good to know that these are all OK!

  • camille

    Sooo… I just made a grilled cheese sandwich with secret cheese I had hidden in the fridge so my husband wouldn’t find it. Mmm, secret cheese.

    • Simply Life

      haha, too funny! what kind of cheese?

  • Emily @ A Cambridge Story

    This must be a guy thing – my husband can’t find anything in the fridge or pantry unless it’s right in front of him. Definitely a standing joke in our house. Good call hiding those chips!

  • Laura @ LauraLivesLife

    You are a foodie-inspiration to me – I love seeing GF chips and I’ve got to make that soup! Everything looks and sounds delicious!

    I don’t mind grocery shopping – but I definitely don’t like putting them away! I think I’m just lazy like that – and I should focus on it more so I know what I need (and what I’m almost out of)!

    • Simply Life

      Thank you!!! 🙂

  • Brandi

    I love that you can add so many healthy ingredients into something! How delicious does that soup look! I am so horrible about forgetting what I have in my pantry. Out of sight, out of mind. 🙂
    Those Way snacks look great! 🙂

    • Simply Life

      Thank you! 🙂

  • Natalie O

    Those chips look awesome! Trader Joes has new tortilla chips that are made with sweet potato that i really want to try! and i loooove me some black beans!

    • Simply Life

      Oooh, I’ve tried those chips from TJ’s -they’re good!

  • Kari

    Oh so funny – things are exactly the same in our house 🙂 Sometimes my partner tries to help by putting groceries away, and it’s a challenge to not offend him whilst nonetheless conveying that I’m quite happy (really!) to do it myself. I’m glad you were able to save the ingredients for this meal – it looks great, as do those chips.

    • Simply Life

      Haha, my husband knows that when I get home, his part is to carry all the bags in and then step out of the kitchen while I put everything away – It works pretty well! 🙂 I would go crazy not knowing what foods the other person just bought for the week but he’s always so laid-back with that!

  • balvinder(Neetu)

    I really love this black bean soup (sans barley) with gluten free crackers.

  • meri

    I love those way better chips! The sweet chili ones are the best kind.

  • Yummychunklet

    Love the heartiness of the soup. Yum!

  • Caitlin Chock

    i LUV black beans!! not only are they tasty as heck but super healthy, hello protein! hehe…that looks very yummy! 🙂

  • Choc Chip Uru

    Black beans are sooo delicious – this would go so well at my place, looks divine!

    Choc Chip Uru

  • Joanne

    Sometimes…I have to hide things from myself to keep them from being eaten before i can use them in a rational way. Like…cookie butter for instance. And probably a bag of those sweet potato chips. They sound amazing, as does the soup!

    • Simply Life

      Haha, I do that too! 🙂

  • Blackswan

    Love everything about this post, right down to the plating! I’m a sucker for snacks & can’t do w/o especially in front of TV. Lol!

  • Colleen

    The soup looks so healthy and colorful! Yum! I’m starting to think I need to pull the same food hiding trick with my boyfriend. I can’t keep a jar of peanut butter for more than a week!

    • Simply Life

      haha, the funny thing is I like to think of it less as “hiding” and more of “strategically placing” 🙂

  • Ali Mc

    I want some of those way better snacks 🙂

  • sarah

    Ha, I do the same thing with hiding food 🙂 This soup looks and sounds fantastic!

  • Mom

    Your soup looks delicious and I’m pleased to say that your dad’s request to not be in trouble because I’m missing a key ingredient has now been filled with sticky notes taped to a closed plastic bag which holds my “off limits” food. Drastic, yes…frustrating for mom, not any more 🙂

  • Jolene (

    I always forget about foods if they are not visible … which usually leads to a lot of wasted groceries.

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