Golden Lentil Barley Soup

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted a new recipe, but I’ve got one for you today. And it’s a keeper. And by keeper, I mean I had absolutely no problem eating this soup for five days straight. I loved it each and every time.

Anyone else loving fall as much as I am? I can’t get enough of cool crisp weather, gorgeous  colours, cozy layers, boots, and lots of hot tea and soup!

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This hearty lentil, barley, and root vegetable soup is pure cool-weather comfort food. It is also very simple to make. Once everything is in the pot and brought to a boil, you can turn it down and let it simmer while you do something else. I got it started one night after coming home from work, and just let it simmer while I relaxed with a book.

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Golden Lentil Barley Soup
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 an onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp)
1 carrot, diced
1 small/medium turnip, diced
2 small or 1 large potato, peeled and diced
1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed, sorted, and drained
1/2 cup barley, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/8-1/2 tsp cayenne powder, depending on how spicy you’d like it
6 cups vegetable broth or 6 cups water + 1 vegetable boullion cube (I used Harvest Sun)

Note:
Really, any sort of lentil would work in this soup but I prefer the creamy texture that red lentils give. Split red lentils will almost disappear in the soup and help to make it very creamy. Whole red lentils will be very soft, but won’t break down completely. I used a mix, because I only had a little bit of each kind left.

Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until translucent.
Add all of the other ingredients, stir well, and bring to a boil.
Turn heat to low, cover, and let simmer until the barley and vegetables are cooked, about 45-60 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally.
Enjoy!

This soup will thicken up quite a bit as it sits and cools, so you may want to add a bit of water when reheating.

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I’ve shared this post with Health Vegan Friday #65Allergy-Free Wednesday #93, and Wellness Weekends (Nov14-18/2013).

What’s your favourite season?

Do you have any favourite soup recipes? Please share. 

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Gingersnap Oatmeal with Instant Cranberry Sauce
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Spicy Peanut Vegetable Soup

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Vegan Eats World: Classic Sesame Noodles

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Vegan MoFo 2013 – Post #5

Last night I finally made my first recipe from Vegan Eats World! Kind of. Jem and I used the sauce for the Classic Sesame Noodles (page 137), but swapped the marinated cucumbers and lettuce that are part of the dish, for some cooked snap peas, baby bok choy, and mushrooms.

The only minor changes I made to the sauce, were to use coconut sugar in place of the dark brown sugar, and ground ginger in place of fresh.

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We cooked some soba noodles according to the package, quickly sautéed them with  the veggies and a little sesame oil, then mixed in some sesame sauce. We also added some roasted sesame seeds and Sriracha to our bowls. So good! If there had been leftovers, I would happily eat the same thing again tonight. I’m such a sucker for a good Asian noodle dish! Luckily, there was quite a bit of sauce leftover (just no noodles or veggies). However, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. Stay tuned.

Have you tried any recipes from Vegan Eats World?
Please share.

You May Also Enjoy:
IMG_2165Crispy Kale and Mushroom Fried Rice

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Spicy Peanut Portobello Kale Rice Bowl

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Easy Hot & Sour Refrigerator Pickles

Crunchy. Juicy. Sour. Sweet. Salty. Spicy. These Hot & Sour Refrigerator Pickles cover all the bases. I find these seriously addictive!

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I made these the first time when I bought a bunch of smallish local cucumbers from the market and was looking for a way to make sure none would go to waste. No problem, thanks to these delicious pickles! I took a whole 1/2 cup container full of these with me to work every day for a week and those cucumbers disappeared pretty darn fast!

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Hot & Sour Refrigerator Pickles
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp organic cane sugar or coconut sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 medium-large cucumber (or a couple small ones), sliced 1/4 inch thick

Place all ingredients except for the cucumbers into a medium-size jar or container (it must hold at least 2 cups). Stir together until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Alternatively, if your jar has a tight fitting lid, you can put the lid on and shake it to mix the ingredients.
Add cucumber slices to the jar. You can stuff as many as you can into the container, as long as they are all mostly submerged into the liquid.
Close the jar and place in the fridge. The pickles will taste great even after 1 hour, and will continue to develop flavour the longer you leave them. I’d tell you how long they will last in the fridge, but mine disappeared within a week.
Enjoy!

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As you enjoy your pickles, you can keep adding more cucumber slices to the jar! And feel free to experiment with different vegetables. I tried carrots and they were also very tasty!

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These pickles pack a punch of flavour, so they are awesome on their own, but they are also a great addition to sandwiches, wraps, salads, and anywhere else you’d like a juicy spicy crunch!

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I’ve shared this with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays (8/13/13), Health Vegan Friday #56, Wellness Weekends (Aug15-19), and Raw Foods Thursday (8/15/13).

My Birthday Part 2: Wild Rice

Check out My Birthday Part 1: Vancouver Veg Fest 2013.

After our day at Veg Fest and downtown Vancouver, Jem and I headed to the New Westminster Quay for a family dinner at my current favourite restaurant, Wild Rice. Wild Rice has two locations in the lower mainland, in New West and downtown Vancouver, serving what they call modern Chinese cuisine with “ingredients that are local, seasonal, and sustainable” (from the website). While the restaurants are not completely vegan, about half of the lunch and dinner menus are vegan, or can easily be made vegan, and these items are clearly marked with a ‘V’ on both the online and in-restaurant menus. There is also always at least one vegan dessert at each location.

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My Mom and Gramma. Love those high ceilings and open concept!

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My beautiful sister Ally. Love all that natural light coming through!

Both locations are really nice, but have quite different feels. The downtown location is a long skinny room with dark furnishings. It feels more fancy than the New West location. The New West location feels much more open and roomy, lots of natural elements, and best of all, one whole wall is made of glass doors looking out across the Fraser River (which are sometimes completely open to the outdoor patio seating). Also, this location is right on the boardwalk of the New West Quay, so its perfect for taking a post-dinner stroll along the water. The downtown location is open for dinner and the New West location is open for both lunch and dinner. The menus at both locations share some items, but are mostly unique.

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I’ve been to Wild Rice twice before, once to each location, and I knew it would be the perfect place to have a birthday dinner with my omnivore family. As much as I love supporting all-vegan businesses, a place with non-vegan food and clearly marked vegan options is much better suited to dining with a bunch of omnivores (including a few that are very unadventurous eaters). Most of the dishes are made for sharing so the portion sizes are quite large. If you aren’t sharing a dish you will most likely end up with leftovers. For example, this time around I had the Spicy Green Beans and Mushroom Risotto with Chili Tofu and I got three small meals out of it. Although if I hadn’t eaten so much food all day at VegFest, that probably would have been down to two good size meals.

Now lets talk food! I only took photos of the vegan food that we ordered, but I’m told that the other dishes were all thoroughly enjoyed as well.

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Seasonal Vegetable Spring Rolls. They were arranged much nicer than this but my 3-year-old nephew had already rearranged them. I love these spring rolls! I’ve tried them once at each location and they were fantastic both times. Very fresh tasting and not at all greasy like some spring rolls can be.

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Spicy Green Beans. I’ve also tried these twice and love them! They are crunchy and fresh, with a delicious spicy, sweet, sesame sauce. Totally addictive!

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Mixed Mushroom and Truffle Risotto with added Chili Tofu. I actually think this was the first time I’ve ever had risotto at a restaurant and it was great! Not my favourite entree that I’ve had, but I did really enjoy it and am glad I tried it. Definitely vegan comfort food.

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Thai Green Curry with added Chili Tofu. You can’t tell but there is rice and a lot of vegetables hidden under there. Jem and Dan ordered this and really enjoyed it. I’m a little sad that I didn’t get a taste. I’ll probably be trying this dish next time.

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As I said, this was the third time I’ve been to Wild Rice and all the food I’ve tried has been awesome. The Chinese influence is very evident, but the heavy greasy food that can be prominent in Chinese restaurants is nowhere to be found. Instead the freshness and flavours of the ingredients really stand out. Last time I was at the New West location I had the Spicy Tofu Kung Po (it’s on the menu as Spicy Chicken Kung Po but as it says, you can easily substitute the chicken with tofu) and it was amazing! Rice noodles, vegetables, and tofu in a creamy peanut sauce with just the right amount of heat.

Jem and I have eaten once at the downtown location and, along with the spring rolls mentioned earlier, shared the Mapo Doufu, Chinatown Sweep, and the Chocolate and Taro Spring Rolls. The Mapo Doufo (smoked tofu, eggplant, and other vegetables served with rice and chili jam) was fantastic and we’ve tried multiple times to replicate the flavours of the dish at home. The Chinatown Sweep is a basic mixed vegetable chow main, that was also very delicious. The Chocolate and Taro Spring Rolls were insanely good! Crunchy outsidehe Chinatown Sweep was a basic mixed vegetable chow main, that was also very delicious.

Baked Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers

Let me just start off by saying that these Baked Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers are my new favourite veggie burgers! I’ve been trying a lot of different recipes lately for vegan burgers, as I really like having some in the freezer for quick meals, and I’m trying not to buy any processed ones full of junk (even though they taste really good). These are absolutely the best ones so far. My sister Jem and her fiancé (both omnivores) have also just finished a batch! We all love that these burgers aren’t trying to taste like meat, they just have a really awesome flavour of their own.

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On a whole wheat bun with roasted garlic hummus, romaine lettuce, and Sriracha.

They are also very simple to make. You basically just mix everything in a bowl, make patties, and bake them. No pre-cooking of individual ingredients or food processor required.

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On a whole wheat wrap with melted Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Wedge, red pepper hummus, green leaf lettuce, and cucumber.

I should also mention that this recipe is based on The Post Punk Kitchen’s recipe for Double Batch Chickpea Cutlets, which are really great as is. A version of the Chickpea Cutlets also appears in Veganomicon.

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Cut up in a salad, with romaine lettuce, cucumber, red pepper, black pepper, and balsamic vinaigrette.

And now, if those photos made you hungry for some Baked Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers (they sure did for me), here’s the recipe. Go make some burgers!

Baked Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers (Yields 8 Large Patties)
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
¼ cup hot water
1 16oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup ground flax seeds
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp paprika
¼ cup black olives, roughly chopped
1 cup vital wheat gluten
1 cup water or vegetable broth
¼ cup soy sauce

Notes:
– I buy sun-dried tomatoes in a dry package. Obviously if you have oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes you won’t need to rehydrate them
– Instead of mashing the chickpeas and olive oil in a bowl, you can choose to pulse them in a food processor. I prefer not to dirty the food processor just for this. Just don’t process them for too long, otherwise you’ll end up with hummus.

– For some extra flavour, you can include the water you soaked the tomatoes in, in the 1 cup of water or vegetable broth.
– If you’re not sure what the ‘strings of gluten’ should look like, this photo should help. 

Place the chopped up sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl with the hot water and set aside for at least 10 minutes before using them.
Place the chickpeas and olive oil in a large bowl and mash with a fork or masher just until there are no whole chickpeas left.
Add all of the other ingredients into the bowl with the mashed chickpeas, including the now rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes. Knead everything together for about 3 minutes, or until strings of gluten appear.
Separate the dough into 4 equal(ish) pieces, then divide each piece into 2. You should now have 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a patty. This can easily be done by rolling it into a ball, then flattening and shaping it into a disc between your hands. They should be roughly half an inch thick.
Place the patties on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 375°F for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, flip, and bake for another 8-10 minutes.
Enjoy!

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Enjoy these Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers right away, or let cool and freeze them for later. I usually make veggie burgers specifically for the freezer, because they are awesome for making quick filling meals. The patties can be reheated any way you choose: in a microwave, in a pan, or on the barbecue.

I’ve shared this post with Allergy-Free Wednesdays Week 67, Healthy Vegan Friday #43, and Wellness Weekends.

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Nacho Cheez White Bean Spread, Basic No-Mayo Coleslaw, Butternut Squash Black Bean Burritos

Crispy Kale and Mushroom Fried Rice for One

Today for lunch I made a single serving version of this Crispy Kale and Mushroom Fried Rice from Appetite for China and it was fantastic! I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, but mine isn’t too much different.

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Crispy Kale and Mushroom Fried Rice (Yields 1 Meal-Size Serving)
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
1 1/2 cups finely chopped white or cremini mushrooms
1 cup finely chopped kale leaves
1 cup cooked long grain brown rice
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp hoisin sauce
Optional toppings: roughly chopped peanuts, roasted sesame seeds, Sriracha or red pepper flakes

Notes: I used the leaves off of 2 large pieces of kale. Just rip the leaves of of the thick stem, discard the stem, and wash the leaves. This dish will work best if the leaves aren’t still really wet when you add them to the pan.
Soy free? Just use a soy-free soy sauce alternative like coconut aminos and use a soy-free hoisin or teriyaki sauce (or just leave it out).
Gluten free? Just use Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or gluten-free tamari in place of the soy sauce, and make sure your hoisin sauce is gluten free (or just leave it out). Also ensure your rice is gluten free.
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Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
Add the ginger, mushrooms, and kale and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring once, until the mushrooms are tender and the kale is getting crispy.
Add the rice to the pan, breaking up any large clumps. Mix well with the vegetables then let cook about 2 minutes, until heated and starting to brown.
Stir in the hoisin and soy sauces, let cook 1 more minute, then turn off heat and transfer contents your bowl.
Top with roughly chopped peanuts, roasted sesame seeds, and Sriracha or red pepper flakes if desired. I used all three!
Enjoy!

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I’ve shared this recipe with Healthy Vegan Friday #46 and Wellness Weekends (June6-10).

You May Also Enjoy:
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Butternut Squash Miso Noodle Soup with Kale and Edamame

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A Vegan Sushi Feast

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Spicy Peanut Portobello Kale Rice Bowl

What I Ate Wednesday #118

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Just some random meals for you in honour of What I Ate Wednesday #118. Enjoy!

IMG_0560IMG_0564Loaded Veggie Pizza: whole wheat pita, lemon dill hummus, spinach, red pepper, roasted butternut squash, artichoke hearts, pickled jalapeños, Daiya Jalapeño Garlic Havarti, italian seasoning.
Tofu Scramble: medium firm tofu, red pepper, green cabbage, spinach, Cajun seasoning, turmeric, soy sauce. Whole wheat ciabatta bun with lemon dill hummus.

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Black Pepper Tofu & Broccoli: 1/2 block medium firm tofu, broccoli, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp red chill jam, 1 tsp minced garlic, splash of water, lots of fresh ground black pepper. Over leftover vegetable yakisoba.
Baked Yam: with avocado, lime juice, and Sriracha.

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Quesadilla: (this is before I cooked it obviously) whole wheat wraps, mashed avocado, hemp hearts, lemon dill hummus, Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Havarti.
Wrap: Yves Veggie Chicken Burger on a whole wheat wrap with lemon dill hummus, cucumber, yellow pepper, green leaf lettuce, hot sauce.

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Improvised Breakfast Sandwich: Yves Veggie Chicken Burger, Daiya Cheddar (wedge), Sriracha, Vegenaise, on a toasted whole wheat English muffin. An apple.
Curried Chickpea Quinoa Burger: on a whole wheat bun with melted Daiya Cheddar (wedge), spicy chile pepper hummus, spring mix.

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Spicy Chick’n Salad: romaine, cucumber, avocado, Vega Antioxidant Oil Blend, lemon juice. Sautéed Gardein Chick’n Scallopini with hot sauce.
Two Semi-Failed Ideas Make A Great Meal: Greek roasted potatoes and green beans. Salad is romaine, orange pepper, cucumber, balsamic vinaigrette, and crumbled Casbah Falafel.