Tag Archives: winter food

Guest Blogger: littleveg – Simple Barley Soup

2 Jan

Another new contributor to VBU! is Teresa, author of the blog littleveg. Here she is in her own words, “I am a macrobiotic chef and educator. I have been cooking for young children for over 15 years. Littleveg is where I post those recipes that are favorites. I am also starting to write about how to help children eat a wider variety of whole grains and vegetables. I am very passionate about helping children love delicious plant-based meals. I love to see their eyes light up and watch them get excited about foods like collard greens and nori rolls.” Check out Terea’s blog. Please welcome Teresa!

Waldorf kindergartens throughout the United States serve a version of this soup weekly. Imagine that many children sitting down to warm bowls of nourishment. We have enjoyed this soup regularly for at least 12 years. It always brings back memories of kindergarten.

Sometimes, I season this soup with vegetable broth and other times I use a hearty miso. The recipe is easy. If you keep hulled barley in your pantry, you will most likely have all the ingredients you need. It’s an especially good soup for a cold winter. Perfect for dining by the fire after an afternoon playing in the snow.

Hulled barley is less refined than pearl barley, is more nutritious and takes longer to cook. You can find it in most natural food stores. Some children are fine with onions in their soup, but use half an onion and mince it if the pieces need to be hidden.IMG_20121208_145134

Simple Barley Soup

1 cup hulled barley, soaked overnight in water to cover
2-3 tsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
sea salt
6 cups water
1 stalk celery, sliced
1-2 carrots, diced or sliced into half circles or triangles
1-2 red potatoes, peel left on, cut into chunks
2-3 tsp unpasteurized barley or brown rice miso

1. Strain the barley and discard soaking water. Set aside.

2. Place a large soup pot on low medium heat. Add the oil when the pot has warmed. Add the onion as soon as a little piece sizzles gently when placed in the oil. Cook the onion about 5 minutes stirring frequently. Add the barley and saute with the onion for about 5 more minutes. Add the water and a few pinches sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for about 45 minutes. Add more water during this time if needed to keep the barley covered. I usually cook it for a long time and just keep adding water.

3. After the barley and onion have cooked for at least 45 minutes, add the vegetables. Cook until the barley and the vegetables are soft. Add more water if you want a lighter broth or leave it thick and serve as a stew.

4. Put the miso into a dish and stir in a few tablespoons water. Turn the soup to your lowest heat and add the miso. Stir well. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more miso if desired. Cook for 3-5 more minutes. Serve.

Serve soup with a hearty sourdough bread or homemade biscuits and a side of greens.

For a variation, chopped greens can be added to this soup 10-15 minutes before the soup is done.

Garnish with chopped parsley or green onion.


Guest Blogger: Vegan Noms – Vegan Fiesta White Bean ‘Chicken’ Chili

4 Dec

With the colder weather upon us it’s great to curl up with a lovely warm bowl of comfort food. Vegan ‘chicken’ chili is on the menu today from our newest blogger Jennifer from Nomnomvegannoms.com. Here she is in her own words, “I live in Salem, MA & started nom noms this summer as a way to share my favorite recipes & showcase my baking. It’s slowly evolving & growing; eventually I’d like it to be more of a vegan lifestyle site. This is my recipe/post for Fiesta White Bean ‘Chicken’ Chili.” Follow Jennifer’s adventures on her blog. Welcome Jennifer!

Today is the perfect day for something hearty & warm in your tummy if you live somewhere where it’s starting to cool off. It’s a little grey & raw up here in Salem, so I decided to make up a pot of chili for this afternoon.

The inspiration for this soup comes from a little cafe I used to work in years ago in Louisville, KY. It was the tiniest little place tucked behind one of those bored-St. Matthews-housewife geared gift shops on Bardstown Rd. The owner made everything herself in a kitchen the size of a linen closet & if you were lucky-and smart enough to call ahead-to get a seat for the 3 hours a day she served food, you could have one of the best lunches in town. She served up a chicken chili that was probably the most popular dish on the menu, with a side of her signature cornbread pudding. The Red Hats went wild for this stuff, y’all, so you know it was good. Those ladies are p-i-c-k-y.

So, I threw a bunch of stuff in the ol’ crockpot, crossed my fingers, & 3 hours later, the look on Aaron’s face tells me I done good.

I made this in a slowcooker, but you can combine all of the ingredients into a stockpot & cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes. Much, much quicker for those hungry, hungry hippos out there. You can totally tweak this recipe, too. It’s got a little bit of a kick to it, thanks to the salsa & anaheim chiles I added to the mix. You can substitute mild salsa & omit the chilies without sacrificing any of the delicious deliciousness. I also had shallots left over from last week’s Farmer’s Market raid, but you can use 1 medium onion instead if you’d like.

So, tie on your apron, turn on some tunes (Earl Scruggs serenaded the kidney beans & I today), & lets make some chili.

Vegan Fiesta White Bean Chicken Chili

by Nom Nom Vegan Noms

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours


  • 36-48 oz. cannellini beans or great white northern beans
  • 16 oz salsa
  • 1 medium onion-I used about 6 shallots
  • 1 large anaheim chile pepper, optional
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bag Daiya cheese-I used Cheddar, but Pepper Jack might be good, too.
  • 3-4 cups chopped chicken substitute
  • 3 cups vegetable or no-chicken broth
  • salt & pepper to taste


Preheat your slowcooker on High

Combine all ingredients & cook for 3 hours or until beans are tender & soup appears creamy.

Serve. Rejoice. Blame it on the dog.

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Guest Blogger: In Vegetables We Trust – Portabello Stew

29 Nov

Please welcome back Alex of In Vegetables We Trust. This young man has a lovely blog and a very creative mind, I would highly suggest you keep an eye on his blog as I predict we are witnessing a rising star in the making. You can read his first submission HERE: Slow cooker chili, roasted butternut squash and fennel flatbreads. Follow In Vegetables We Trust‘s blog and Facebook account. Welcome back Alex!

Portabello stew:

1 packet of dried Portobello mushrooms
4 carrots, sliced
2 big waxy potatoes, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups of mushroom stock (from the rehydrated portobellos)
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup or red lentils, rinsed
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons mushroom ketchup (optional)
1 tablespoon barley miso
1 teaspoon yeast extract
a dash of tamari/soy

re hydrate your mushrooms according to packet instructions using plenty of boiling water, whilst they’re rehydrating you can chop all your vegetables. once the mushrooms are rehydrated, pick them out of the liquid with a slotted spoon and put them on a plate ready to be added into the stew later and strain off two cups of the liquid to remove any small bits, use this as your stock.fry of the onion till translucent, then add the garlic and fry a little more. Add the carrots and potatoes next, followed by the lentils stock and tomato sauce. Bring to the boil and then pop the lid on and let simmer for about 20 minutes till the lentil are all cooked and the vegetables are nice and soft. Add the thyme and mix the rest of the ingredients in a measuring cup with a little water and add to the pot, cook till thickened up a bit. Serve in a deep bowl with fresh thyme.

And stuffed flat breads:

Flatbread dough recipe:

1 1/2 cups of strong white bread flour plus extra for dusting your surface when rolling, extra points for unbleached organic
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 teaspoon of dried yeast
3/4 cup of tepid water
1 tablespoon of olive oil, plus extra for greasing your baking tray and brushing over you flat bread parcels

Filling ingredients:

1 tin of mock duck, liquid drained
1 teaspoon of freshly crushed cloves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
olive oil for frying

Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk together with a fork. in a cup dissolve your yeast in the tepid water and then pour your oil in the water. Add the liquids into the flour/salt mix gradually whilst mixing with your hands, squeeze out any lumps as they form, if the dough’s a bit wet add a touch more flour- too dry? No problem a tad more tepid water. Turn your dough out onto a floured surface and knead till it is slightly tacky, but still nice and soft. Then leave on the side in a bowl covered by a tea towel for about 45 mins. Now prepare your filling, nice and simple, rub the mock duck in the cloves and cumin, a little salt and cracked black pepper and fry up till nice and browned. When your dough is ready pop the oven onto 230c/450f and split the dough into four little balls and roll into circles on a floured surface till 3-5mm thick, place 1/4 of the filling slightly off centre and fold the dough over sealing the edges with water, place on an oiled baking tray and brush with oil. Bake for about 10-15 mins till crisp. And enjoy! Serve with pistachio sauce and lemon and red onion kale sauté to make a meal, or pop them in your lunch box cold.