I am not vegan but I do strive to eat as wholly and healthy as possible. About seven months ago I cut out red meat and decided to adopt a pescetarian diet. I do very occasionally eat poultry but am mostly eating vegetarian and seafood.
By default I probably end up making a vegan meal about once a week or so even if it isn’t intentional, so when I had the opportunity to review a vegan cookbook I was very interested in giving it a try. I would like to start consciously making one or two vegan meals a week but I need a little help and inspiration. This cookbook provides that.
This cookbook truly is for beginners. It gives you tips on how to cook vegan meals such as thickeners and meat alternatives as well as slow cooker tips. There are also a wide variety of recipes from breakfast, to soups, to desserts and everything in between.
But how do these recipes taste is probably the most important question. To find out, I decided to make the Barley and Beans recipe that is included in the cookbook. I did make a few changes due to not having quite the same ingredients on hand as in the recipe but I tried to keep everything as close to the original recipe as possible to get a real feel for how it would taste as written.
For example, I doubled the recipe since we love leftovers in our house and I only had one can of kidney beans so I also added a can of white beans. I didn’t have fire roasted tomatoes so I added regular tomatoes and 1/4 tsp of Liquid Smoke. Lastly, my crushed red pepper is sweet so I added a few shakes of Cholula hot sauce.
This recipe really couldn’t be simpler. Add the stock, tomatoes, beans, barley, onion, garlic, celery, and spices to the slow cooker and cook for about 7 hours. Really, that’s it.
I love slow cooker meals because even when I really don’t feel like cooking I can throw some stuff into the slow cooker, forget about it for the day and still have a delicious meal that evening without much effort.
We all enjoyed this meal. My husband walked in the house and commented on how great it smelled, my fourteen-year-old commented that it was good without being prompted, and my three-year-old cleaned his plate. I think it’s safe to say that it was a success.
Barley and Beans
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 28 oz can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
- 15 oz can red kidney beans rinsed and drained
- 1 cup uncooked barley rinsed
- 1 small red onion chopped
- 1 celery stalk chopped
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- sourdough bread optional
- Add vegetable stock, tomatoes, kidney beans, barley, red onion, celery, garlic, sea salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and bay leaves to the slow cooker. Do not stir.
- Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.
- Remove bay leaves.
- Stir and serve hot with sourdough bread, if desired.
This is the recipe as written in the book. If you would like to use my changes, feel free.