Winter in the Kitchen

Kale, Mushroom Barley Soup

by Abra Pappa Add
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Snuggling up on a chilly night requires a bowl of nourishing soup. My kitchen in the winter is a  a mecca for nourishing soup.

A few little notes about this recipe. It’s simple. Seriously simple. But there are a few things that make it special. I decided last minute to add some roasted pumpkin and pumpkin seeds to the soup, this is absolutely optional and absolutely delicious.

kale mushroom barley soup

Pumpkin close up

I also used a very special ingredient in the soup. A spice blend called, Spezie Forte. Also known as “Tuscan Viagra” (start paying attention now!) This aromatic blend of spices is created by Chef Cesara Casella of New York City’s popular restaurant Salumeria Rosi Parmacotta. If you are in the city pop on over to their Upper West Side location and buy yourself some of this spice, you won’t regret it. If you don’t live in New York check out this link to see the recipe for the blend… or by all means make up your own special spice blend.

Looking forward to soup-in up with you this winter.

Kale Mushroom Barley Soup

Level: Moderate


  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 8 ounces of cremini mushrooms
  • 4 cups of organic chicken stock
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of pearl barley
  • 5 cups of chopped kale
  • 1 small pie pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon of spezie forte
    **Spice Blend**
  • a drizzle of coconut oil


  1. In a large soup pot, over medium heat saute onion and garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil. Until onion is translucent (about 3 minutes)
  2. Add mushrooms and saute for 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally
  3. Add stock, water, and barley.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 25 minutes until barley is tender.
  4. Add kale, stir until wilted. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Top with roasted pumpkin and pumpkin seeds
  6. Serve and savor
NOTE: If you choose not to add the pumpkin sauté the onions with aromatic spices like a pinch of cayenne and a pinch of nutmeg (or use spezie forte if you can find it, link below)
Optional but Delicious:
Roasted Pumpkin and Pumpkin Seeds
  1. Using a sharp knife slice pumpkin in half. Scoop out seeds and reserve
  2. Slice pumpkin halves into half moon slices about 1/2 inch thick
  3. You can keep skin on or using a small pairing knife separate the flesh from the skin
  4. Drizzle melted coconut oil on the pumpkin and sprinkle with spezie forte
  5. Roast in 425 oven for 30 minutes or until tender. Stir half way through cooking
For Seeds:
  1. Rinse seeds and allow to dry on cookie sheet
  2. Toss with a bit of coconut oil, salt, and spezie forte
  3. Roast in 425 oven for 10-15 minutes
For a photo step by step how to roast a pumpkin check out this great post from Steamy Kitchen: Roasted Pumpkin 

Abra Pappa
About Abra Pappa, Health and Wellness Expert

Abra is a wellness expert that has inspired thousands of people to reach their health and weight loss goals through whole, natural food and mindful lifestyle shifts. Her food philosophy is simple; keep it real, keep it simple, and it sure as heck better be delicious!