Eat like a Gladiator : One-Pot Roman Soup 

Connor Forbes
Connor Forbes
3 Min Read

By Joanna Barajas

Did you know gladiators were called “barley men,” because they ate so much barley? That’s right, they were mostly vegetarians.

Most people think they ate lots of meat. But research shows their diet was made up of whole grains like barley. It sounds weird, but barley is packed full of vitamins and minerals. And helped them get that gladiator physique. 

So, if you want to take a dive into ancient Rome, try this soup. It has a base of barley and lentils, and then gets topped with some toasted croutons. 

It’s hearty, satisfying and fit for a gladiator. 

One-Pot Roman Soup 

Serves 6-8


  • 1 cup lentils or small beans mix (cannellini, red, green, yellow lentil, kidney beans)
  • 1 cup farro or barley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 2-inch piece fresh rosemary, minced
  • 8 cups vegetable broth or water with 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 slices thick bread


In a medium to large pot add all ingredients except the bread. Be sure to rinse the lentils and beans in a strainer and remove any stones if there are any. Bring to a boil, then lower to a medium heat and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the larger beans are soft and tender. Check on the liquid amount now and then, you want a soup on the thicker side so don’t add too much extra water or broth. It will thicken once it cools. 

Meanwhile, preheat the oven or toaster oven to 400 F. Cut 2 slices of bread into cubes. Drizzle with olive oil, a pinch of salt and 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary if you have it. Toast for 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown. 

To serve, ladle soup into a bowl. Top with a few croutons in the middle and a drizzle of olive oil. 

I hope you try this new recipe! Snap a picture and tag me @chefjoannas on instagram so I see how yours came out.

Chef Joanna is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and is a private chef for the stars. She also hosts pop up dinners and cooking classes inspired by her travels around the world. You can find more of her work at

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