Sweet Potato Barley Stew | @naturallyella

Post sponsored by Crock-Pot® Brand/Mirum Shopper. See below for more details.

While I hate the idea of ‘resolutions’, the start of the new year is a good time to start change, no matter how small. This change can come with cooking at least one dinner a week, adding more vegetables to your meals, or experimenting with ingredients you may have never tried. This barley stew can knock out (potentially) all three. It’s easy to prep, just a bit of chopping, then everything goes into the Crock-Pot® slow cooker. Start it in the morning on low and by dinner you have a delicious homemade meal that is full of sweet potato goodness. Plus, if you’ve never tried barley- this is about as easy as it gets!

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

Sweet Potato Barley Stew

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


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


  • 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


Disclosure: This recipe was created in partnership with Crock-Pot® Brand and Mirum Shopper. All thoughts and opinions are my own. It’s content like this that helps me keep this site running to provide the vegetarian recipes you see every week.