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This Barley Soup Will Nourish You on the Cusp of Kapha Season

Kapha season, or Vasant Ritu, is spring time—a time of year when the earth can be heavy and soggy from the spring rains and the winter snow melting.

Our bodies tend to mimic what goes on in nature. In spring, we may feel this heaviness and wetness manifest in us as weight gain, bloating, lethargy, physical congestion in the form of mucous, the emotional congestion of a heavy heart, or feelings of depression or melancholy.

Ayurveda calls this time Shirshir Ritu: the late winter, up to around March 20. We can begin to accumulate kapha dosha (excess earth and water) in Shirshir Ritu just prior to kapha season. It is the perfect time to shift our diets to stay in balance with what is to come.

However, it’s still quite cold where many of us live, and even though we don’t want to build up excess water or earth in our bodies, we still need to be warm and nurtured. Thus begins the balancing act of Ayurveda!

Barley soup avails itself to us in the form of warmth, nourishment, and comfort, but is not too wet, because barley has an affinity for producing a healthy diuretic effect on kapha dosha. Rosemary, thyme, and basil are heating in nature, and further serve to balance out the wetness of this soup with their stimulating qualities. Like the space in between breaths that prepares us for the next breath, enjoy this in-between season with a delicious bowl of barley soup in preparation for the beauty and excitement of kapha season!

Barley Soup

What You’ll Need

2 tbs. ghee
¼ c. minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried basil
2 stalks fennel, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 medium turnip, chopped
6 c. vegetable stock
1/2 c. barley soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
1 bay leaf
Mineral salt
Black pepper or long pepper


Melt the ghee in a large pot. Add the parsley, thyme, rosemary, basil, fennel, celery, carrot and tunic and sauté over low heat for about 10 minutes.

Add the stock to the vegetables. Add the barley and bay leaf. Bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the barley is very tender, about 1 hour.

Season with mineral salt and black pepper or long pepper

*You can short cut the cooking time by cooking the barley ahead and then, add it to the rest of the ingredients.

Makes about 8 cups

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