Hearty Escarole, Barley, and Parmesan Soup Recipe

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Recipe Details

Hearty Escarole, Barley, and Parmesan Soup Recipe

Active 20 mins
Total 40 mins
Serves 4 to 6 servings


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 1 large carrot, finely diced (about 1 cup)

  • 2 medium stalks celery, finely diced (about 1 cup)

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves

  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 1 large head escarole, chopped into 1-inch pieces

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1/2 cup pearled barley

  • 1 1/2 quarts low-sodium store-bought or homemade vegetable or chicken stock

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 4-inch chunk Parmesan rind

  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

  • Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add rosemary and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add escarole and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has evaporated and mixture begins to sizzle, about 5 minutes longer. Add barley and cook, stirring, until coated with oil, about 1 minute.

  2. Stir in broth. Add bay leaves, Parmesan rind, soy sauce, and fish sauce (if using), and bring to a boil. Reduce to a bare simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until barley is softened and soup has absorbed flavor from parmesan and bay leaves, about 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley. Serve, drizzling with olive oil and sprinkling with Parmesan.

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
216 Calories
11g Fat
21g Carbs
9g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 216
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 3mg 1%
Sodium 1086mg 47%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 11g 38%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 9g
Vitamin C 19mg 94%
Calcium 218mg 17%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 1182mg 25%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)