This Slow Cooker Ham Barley Soup with Spinach Pesto is the perfect weeknight vegetable packed delicious dinner. |Healthy Seasonal Recipes | Katie Webster #slowcooker #soup #weeknightdinner #pesto

slow cooker ham barley soup with spinach pesto

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American


This Slow Cooker Ham Barley Soup with Spinach Pesto is the perfect vegetable packed delicious weeknight dinner of your dreams. It also has a make ahead option that will make those busy mornings just that much easier!



For the soup

  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dry thyme
  • ½ cup barley
  • 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups diced smoked boneless ham, about 10 ounces
  • 2 cups peeled and diced turnip, about 1 large
  • 2 cups chopped leeks (see how to clean here)
  • 1 ½ cup diced carrots
  • 1 ½ cup diced celery

For the Pesto

  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach
  • ¼ cup unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • ¼ cup finely shredded Asiago or Manchego cheese
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup finest quality extra-virgin olive oil


Make soup:

  1. Whisk broth, tomato paste, paprika, sherry vinegar, salt, pepper and thyme in slow cooker insert. Add barley, bay leaf and garlic. Top with ham, turnip, leeks, carrots and celery. Cover and cook in the slow-cooker 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

Make Pesto:

  1. Fit food processor with the steel blade attachment. Cover and turn on motor. Drop garlic through the feed tube and process until minced. Remove lid and add spinach, pepitas, Asiago or Manchego, lemon zest and salt. Process until ground. While motor is running, drizzle the oil trough the feed tube and continue processing until the paste is evenly moist, scraping down sides if necessary.
  2. Remove bay leaves before serving. Serve soup topped with a dollop of pesto.


25 mg Cholesterol, 0 g Added Sugars

To make ahead, place ingredients in slow-cooker insert and refrigerate overnight. Because the insert will be cold, you’ll need to add 1 hour to the cooking time.


  • Serving Size: 2 cups soup and 2 Tablespoons pistou
  • Calories: 305
  • Sugar: 6 g
  • Sodium: 657 mg
  • Fat: 19 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 32 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 20 g

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