Sweet Potato Barley Stew

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Sweet Potato Barley Stew | @naturallyella


Sweet Potato Barley Stew

A hearty winter barley stew that features slow-cooked sweet potatoes and chewy barley. 

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 240 minutes
  • Total Time: 250 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion ((6 oz) diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes ((1 1/2 pounds))
  • 1/2 cup pearled barley
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoons coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Sour cream (for serving)
  • Cilantro (for serving)


  1. Heat a Crock-pot® slow cooker over high. Add the olive oil, red onions, and garlic. Stir to coat the onions and let warm.
  2. Peel the sweet potato and dice into ½” sized pieces. Add to the slow cooker along with the barley, water, vegetable broth, cumin, smoked paprika, coriander, and salt. Set the slow cooker to high (for 4 hours) or low (for 8 hours). 
  3. While the stew is cooking, stir occasionally. Add more vegetable broth, ½ cup at a time, if the liquid has absorbed too quickly.


Tips & Tricks: I took the short prep-time approach and didn’t cook the onions beforehand. If you have the time, I recommend cooking the onions and garlic in the olive oil on the stovetop before adding to the crockpot.

Stock up: get the pantry ingredients you will need: sweet potatoes, barley, cumin, smoked paprika

Nutrition: see the information.


  • Calories: 438
  • Sugar: 16.4
  • Sodium: 507.5
  • Fat: 4.4
  • Carbohydrates: 93.8
  • Fiber: 15.6
  • Protein: 8.8
  • Cholesterol: 0


Step by Step

Sweet Potato Barley Stew Ingredients
Sweet Potato Barley Stew | Prep in the Slow Cooker

Barley Stew


I love a good barley stew. While you could use whole grain barley, the pearled barley helps create a semi-creamy base to the stew. The warmth from the barley is also a wonderful compliment to the sweet potatoes and smokey paprika. A few ways to mix up this stew:

Add Greens: Collards, Kale, or Chard would be wonderful stirred in at the end. Shred the greens and stir into the soup about 30 minutes before serving.

Spice: Add a pinch or two of cayenne to spice up the overall dish or you can serve the soup with a sprinkle of hot sauce.

Gluten-free: I love that even after a few hours in the slow cooker, the barley still has a slightly chewy texture. Gluten-free alternatives that will old up: sorghum or oat groats!

Vegan: Leave out the sour cream and add a dollop of cashew cream before serving!

Sweet Potato Barley Stew with Sour Cream and Cilantro | @naturallyella


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7 comments on “Sweet Potato Barley Stew”

  1. 5 stars
    I love your recipe. Please make more sweet potato recipe for me. Thank you!

    - gustavo woltmann

  2. 1 star
    This one wasn't my favorite - it ended up very mushy for me... I love the idea of a vegetarian slow cooker recipe, though!

      1. Thanks for the quick reply, Erin! I made it on the stove top -- turned out great. I am so happy to have found your website -- I can't wait to try more recipes 🙂 Thanks for sharing your wonderful creations!


Welcome to my little internet nook. On this site you'll find over a thousand vegetarian recipes, pantry knowledge, and more. I'm ever obsessed with food from gardening, cooking, and preserving. I hope you'll find endless inspiration on these pages and visit often. 

Virtual hugs, Erin (aka: e.l.l.a.)

a few good grain recipes

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