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. 

You May Also Enjoy:
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Gingersnap Oatmeal with Instant Cranberry Sauce
Butternut Squash Miso Noodle Soup with Kale and Edamame
Spicy Peanut Vegetable Soup

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Vegan Scrambled ‘Eggs’? Yes!

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Vegan MoFo 2013 – Post #4 – I’m a little behind already!

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You may have read or seen me mention this amazing Chickpea Flour Omelette! It has quickly become one of my most repeated recipes. Does it taste like eggs? Not really (though the black salt helps), but it is still the best replacement I’ve found for the veggie-filled omelettes I often enjoyed before I went vegan.

So, I knew as soon as I saw this recipe for chickpea flour-based Vegan Scrambled ‘Eggs’ that I had to give them a try!

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I don’t like scallions and I didn’t have any kale, so I left those out. In place, I doubled the mushrooms, and added diced red pepper, jalapeño, and parsley.

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Mine certainly didn’t turn out as pretty as Lauren’s, but they sure were tasty! It’s been over two years now since I’ve had scrambled eggs, but I think the texture of this dish is quite similar.

This is definitely going in my savoury breakfast rotation, and I’m looking forward to many more variations! In fact, I think I’m going to go make this for lunch!

Pineapple Mango Creamsicles and Mixed Berry Ice Pops

It is definitely summer around here and while I’m loving the sunshine, I’m not a huge fan of the heat. What better way to beat the heat than with an icy totally guilt-free treat?! (Really didn’t intend for all the rhyming there!)

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Store-bought popsicles may be fruit-flavoured, but they are usually just frozen sugar-water, without any actual fruit in sight. These home-made popsicles taste even better than store-bought, are almost completely all fruit, and therefore completely guilt-free! They are also super quick and easy to make. If you know how to turn on a blender, than you can make these in about five minutes. The hardest part is waiting for them to freeze!

Pineapple Mango Creamsicles
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 cup mango chunks
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (or more coconut milk, for an even creamier creamsicle)
1/2 tsp orange extract
Optional – sweetener to taste

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Mixed Berry Ice Pops
1 cup blueberries
1 cup other berries (raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries…) – You can choose one kind, or a mixture.
2 cups water or non-dairy milk
Optional – sweetener to taste

For both kinds, just throw everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Divide into whatever ice pop molds you have and place them in a freezer to freeze. Wait impatiently. Enjoy!

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Notes:
– For both recipes, you can use either fresh or frozen fruit, or a combination of both. 

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I’ve shared this post with Raw Food Thursday (7/18/13), Allergy-Free Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesdays (7/17/13), Healthy Vegan Friday #52, Gluten Free Friday #49, and Wellness Weekend (July 18-22).

Questions
Ice cream or popsicles?

What is your favourite popsicle flavour? Or the craziest flavour you’ve tried?
Feel free to share or link to the recipe!

Raw Vegan High Tea at Indigo Food Cafe

Jem and I recently enjoyed a day of exploring in Vancouver (like being tourists close to home, for us Surryites) and decided to make raw vegan high tea at Indigo Food Cafe one of the stops along our way. I was very excited to discover the existence of vegan high tea somewhat close to home and I’ve been quite eager to try it.

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Indigo Food Cafe is a cozy little place in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood, owned by chef Lovena Galyide and her daughter Kat Galaida. It’s eclectic mix of decor, including antique-style sewing tables, brightly painted chairs, a 3D green lizard on the wall, and hanging framed photos of animals makes for a cute, casual, and charming atmosphere. I also loved that on a hot sunny day the front window provided enough light that the inside lights weren’t turned on, and the front entrance was kept open.

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Our choice of organic fair-trade loose leaf tea, I had Green Rooibos and Jem chose Pear Sencha, came in cute little coloured personal tea-pots and our food came beautifully displayed on a 3-tier glass serving tray. It honestly looked so good all together, that I was cautious at first to eat anything and ruin the display, but of course I eventually dug in. The hardest part was deciding what to try first!

Our tray was filled with kale chips, stuffed buckwheat crepes, stuffed mushrooms, stuffed tomatoes, raw pizza, coconut yogurt with berries and raw granola, chocolate ganache, lemon-goji truffles, mini berries cheesecake, and mini coconut cream pies, one of each item for each of us. Jem and I took our time and savoured everything, but I think we were both pretty full about half-way through. All together, all those little bites added up to quite a lot of food!

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Love those little tea pots and pretty dishes!

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Excited for high tea!

We both thoroughly enjoyed everything that was included in our high tea! Jem’s favourite was the raw pizza, but she commented (pretty much the best compliment a raw/vegan cook/chef can get from an omnivore) that she “wasn’t aware that I was eating vegan or raw food, it was just really good food”.

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Raw pizza bite.

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Tomato stuffed with macadamia cheese, with marinated mushroom, and a sprout.

I really don’t think I could choose a favourite, though the raw pizza and the coconut yogurt bowl were definitely standouts. The pizza crust had awesome taste and texture, and was perfectly balanced by the zucchini, tomato, and garlicky cheese sauce on top. I also loved every little bite of the home-made coconut yogurt, full of fresh berries, and covered in crunchy raw granola, and wanted to keep on eating it when my little bowl was empty.

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Enjoying a lemon-goji truffle.

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From the top right: mini berries cheesecake, chocolate ganache, and mini coconut cream pie.

And let’s not forget about the desserts! They were all amazing! The chocolate ganache was rich, creamy, with intense chocolate flavour, just as great chocolate ganache should be. The lemon-goji truffles, had a bright refreshing lemon flavour and were perfectly chewy. The berry cheesecake was a little soft from the heat by the time I ate it, so it was more like rich berry pudding, but it was delicious. And last, but not least, the mini coconut cream pie was delightfully cool and creamy.

This was the first time that I’ve ever been to Indigo and I think the high tea was the perfect way to start, as you get a wide variety of both savoury and sweet bites, most of which are also available as larger versions on the regular menu. The menu is mostly raw and gluten free, with a few cooked dishes including perigees (both savoury and dessert ones) and cabbage rolls, obviously an ode to Galyide’s Ukrainian heritage. I would definitely go back for the high tea again, and would also love to try some other things on the menu.

Raw vegan High tea at Indigo Food Cafe is available through reservation only. The cost of $27 per person includes your choice of organic fair-trade loose leaf tea and a variety of both sweet and savoury bites, around ten different items per person. More information on high tea, as well as the complete menu, and info for raw food classes is available on the website.

I’d highly recommend checking out Indigo Food Cafe if you are in the Vancouver area.

Also, just a heads up that you can now find my restaurant reviews in the ‘Dining Out‘ page under the menu heading ‘Reviews’. I’ve also created a new Pinterest board called “Vegan in Vancouver” where I’ll be sharing photos of vegan food I eat out, as well as links to my reviews.

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.
Sesame free? I’d use peanut or coconut oil instead.IMG_2156

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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

Orange Avocado Scones: MMAZ #28

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MMAZ stands for Meatless Mondays from A-Z. This is a weekly link up hosted by Better With Veggies where everyone links up a recipe featuring the ingredient of the week (it begins with an ingredient starting with the letter A and works through the alphabet).  The first round of MMAZ finished a while ago, and I didn’t end up contributing as much as I’d planned on.

Now, Round 2 has started and I am super excited about the new changes. This time around, each ingredient will be around for 2 weeks. The first week is CREATE week, where we are encouraged to create and share a recipe using the featured ingredient, and the second is COOK week, where you can cook someone else’s recipe using the featured ingredient (maybe one from the Create week) and share your experience. I really think the new Cook week will help a lot more people, including myself to participate more often.

The first ingredient for MMAZ is Avocado. Sadly, I missed the Create link up and just missed the Cook link up, but I did try one of the recipes submitted and wanted to share it with you anyway. Hopefully I can get myself in gear for next week!

These Blood Orange Avocado Scones from Sprint 2 the Table looked delicious and the thought of baking with avocado (probably the only way I’ve never used it) was very intriguing so I decided to give them a try.

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The only minor changes I made to the recipe, just based on what I had on hand, were to sub brown rice flour for half of the almond meal, and to use a regular orange in place of a blood orange.

This is the first time I’ve made gluten-free scones and I really enjoyed the texture and taste that the chickpea, almond, and brown rice flours give. The avocado really does make them “buttery” without affecting the taste at all and there is just enough orange flavour. I also really love the beautiful yellow colour of these scones. I’m pretty sure I will be making these again!

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I’ve shared this post with Gluten Free Fridays #35.

A Vegan Sushi Feast!

Jem and I tried our hands at making sushi for the first time ever, and we ended up with a sushi feast (and a lot of photos)!

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Can you tell Jem’s excited to make some vegan sushi!?

Apparently I was so excited about making vegan sushi that I forgot to record any amounts for our ingredients. Luckily, this wasn’t really intended to be a recipe, so I’ll just share with you what I do know. I cooked 2 cups of short grain brown rice, then added coconut sugar and rice wine vinegar according to someone’s directions.

For our fillings we used avocado, cucumber, asparagus, spicy smoked tofu, and portobello mushrooms. The avocado and cucumber were simply sliced into strips. The asparagus was steamed. For the tofu, we sliced up half a block of Soyganic Smoked Tofu into thin strips and quickly sautéed it with sesame oil, soy sauce, and Sriracha. The mushroom was actually a remainder from my portobello burger dinner the night before. It was grilled on the barbeque with just a little oil and black pepper, then thinly sliced for our sushi.

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How To Roll Sushi
I’m no expert, but I did find it to be surprisingly easy and quick once we got the hang of it. The process is difficult to explain, so I took some step-by-step photos for you. (Big thanks to my lovely hand-model/super-sister Jem!) As you can see, we used plastic wrap in between our sushi mat and the nori, but it probably isn’t necessary unless you want to make inside out rolls.

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Also, it really doesn’t hurt if you stop and take a photo like this. 🙂

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And don’t forget to have a little bowl of water and rice vinegar on hand to wet your fingers, otherwise they’ll look like this. 🙂

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As you can tell from the photos, we ended up with a tonne of sushi! (I ate it for lunch for the next two days.) Basically, we were quite unsure of how much rice or fillings we needed, so we made a lot, and kept making rolls until the rice was all gone. This was actually really nice, because it gave us a chance to do some experimenting with different filling combinations and different amounts of rice. Our package of nori said to use 1 cup of rice for each sheet so this is what we did for the first couple rolls, but they turned out larger than we like. We’ll be using 2/3 to 1/2 cup of rice from now on.

Here’s some of our combinations.

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Avocado/cucumber/asparagus. Tofu/mushroom/cucumber.

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Tofu/avocado/cucumber. Tofu/avocado/cucumber/mushroom/asparagus.

Last step: sit down and enjoy your delicious home-made vegan sushi!

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Making sushi at home can be really fun, and a lot easier than you may think. Also, because you choose the ingredients, it can be a lot healthier than restaurant sushi (especially if you use brown rice and no refined sugar). Plus, you can easily customize it to suit your specific dietary needs.
Gluten-free? Make sure your rice is gluten-free (I love Lundberg and it is) and use gluten-free tamari in place of soy sauce.
Soy-free? Just skip the tofu and soy sauce.
Oil-free? Just omit the sesame oil when sautéing the tofu

Enjoy!

I’ve shared this post with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday (4/9/13), and Allergy Free Wednesdays #62, Healthy Vegan Friday #38, and Gluten Free Fridays #35.