I am not a vegan. I am not even a vegetarian. (Although I am working hard towards becoming vegan!). Recipes like this healthy vegan stew are certainly helping. It is hearty, savory, and full of flavor while remaining vegan, low in fat, and chock full of veggies. I really enjoy the challenge of cooking healthy food that people love without resorting to my go-to delicious-making ingredients of bacon, butter..blue cheese....Italian sausage....(the list goes on).
Oh, did I mention the stew is also incredibly easy to prepare? If you can chop vegetables you have all the skills you need. No good at chopping veggies? That's probably OK too, just call the stew "rustic". ;-) ;-)
Pros: Fast, Easy, REALLY GOOD, Healthy
Cons: Erm..no meat? (Says Mr. C)
Active Time: 10-15 minutes (how fast can you chop?)
Ready in: 45 minutes
Served: 2x people 2x meals. (4 big servings)
Vegan Barley Vegetable Stew
Olive oil (to coat pan)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 baby carrots (or 2 small carrots), diced
1 leek, white and light green parts only, chopped
6-8 fingerling potatoes (or 1-2 Yukon golds, or red skinned potatoes), diced
.5lbs firm white mushrooms, diced
1tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup pearl barley
1 (15oz) can of tomato sauce (low sodium preferred)
6-8 cups of broth or water depending on how thick you prefer your stew. 8c would be more "soup" like. (I used 6c of water + 1 TBS of "no-chicken" better than bouillon)
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste.
Add-ins: For vegans: fresh basil, parsley or thyme. For vegetarians: a Parmesan rind added with the broth, or grated on top. For carnivores: slices of precooked chicken or pork sausage, added with water. I didn't use any extras for this particular recipe.
1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Once shimmering add all of the chopped veggies and red pepper flakes. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are slightly caramelized and beginning to soften--about 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the pot and heat of the stove.
2. Add the barley and stir to coat until all of the barley are coated with the oil and shiny.
3. Add tomato sauce, stock, bay leaves and increase heat to high. Once boiling, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes (or until the barley is nice and tender). Remove bay leaves and add salt and pepper to taste.
When making this recipe I simply used whatever veggies I had in my fridge at the time. You can certainly adjust the vegetables to your taste, just keep the general quantity the same. The garlic, onions, and potatoes really add a lot to the dish, so I would keep those constant ;-).