Stew is one of my favorite things to make in the winter. I love that I can toss any vegetables I have into the pot. No matter how bare my fridge is, between my pantry staples fridge and freezer I can always cobble a soup or stew together. Plus its a one pot meal. And fewer pots to clean is always good in my book. So, today, I'm sharing this Vegan Vegetable and Barley Stew. Its hearty, delicious and an easily be adapted to what you have on hand.
Basic Winter Vegetable Staples
This Vegan Vegetable and Barley Stew is made of my basic wintertime staples. Carrots, onion and celery, potatoes and garlic are veggies that I always have on hand in the winter. They stay fresh for ages if stored properly. I store my carrots and celery in my vegetable crisper and they stay fresh for months.
And potatoes, onions and garlic. are stored in baskets that I have on the wall of my kitchen. So, they stay out of the sun and stay fresh for weeks. I call these vegetables winter staples because I use them most in the winter. So, they go in every soup, chili, curry and casserole including this Vegan Vegetable and Barley Stew.
Freezer Vegetable Staples
I don't buy many frozen items. But, there are a few things that I do like to keep on hand. Frozen peas are almost always in my freezer. This is the only vegetable that I prefer frozen over fresh. They taste fresh and are really tender. And they are SO cheap. I love to add frozen peas to soup. They are a little sweet and add an extra bit of protein, so I added the, into my Vegetable and Barley Stew for good measure.
Frozen kale or spinach is another thing I like to keep on hand. Its easy item to add into soups, stews, curries and casseroles. And we could probably all add more green vegetables to our diets. So, I threw a hand full of frozen kale into this Vegan Vegetable and Barley Stew at the very end to do just that.
I also like to keep a bag of frozen green beans and a bag of frozen edamame around. They are both great in soup, stew curries and stir fry. And those 34 items are the only vegetables I will buy frozen. The others are too mushy when they are defrosted for my personal taste.
Other than basic pantry and freezer staples, you will need some barley. Barley is a cereal grain that we grow a LOT of. In the grocery store you will typically fined pearled barley, which is what I used in this Vegan Vegetable and Barley Stew. Pearled barley is not technically a whole grain, but still has a lot of fiber and protein. Pearled barley has the outer bran removed which reduces the cooking time. I used Bob's Red Mill Pearl Barley.
You may be able to find hulled barley if you have access to a health foods store and you can substitute that here if you prefer. Hulled barley has just had the outer husk removed, while the bran remains in tact so it is a whole grain. If you do substitute hulled barley in this Vegan Vegetable and Barley Stew, you will need to adjust the cooking time as it takes longer to cook.
Cooking with Red Wine
A bit of dry red wine gives this Vegan Vegetable and Barley Stew and incredible depth of flavor. The alcohol cooks out entirely since its added in the beginning of the cooking process. Choose any un-oaked dry red wine. A red blend, pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon- or any other dry un-oaked red wine- will work perfectly. If you don't buy or drink wine, substitute for more vegetable stock.
This Vegan Vegetable and Barley Stew is incredibly flavorful and makes a huge batch so its perfect for freezing. Serve it up with some crusty bread slathered with butter for dipping.
Vegetable and Barley Stew
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Large Onion, small dice
- 3 Medium Carrots, small dice
- 3 Small Ribs Celery, small dice
- 3 Medium Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 Medium Potato, Small Dice
- ¾ Cup Barley
- 6 Cups Vegetable Stock
- ¾ Cup Dry Red Wine
- 1 teaspoon Dried Thyme Leaves
- 2 Bay Leaves
- ½ Cup Frozen Peas
- 1 Cup Frozen Kale or Spinach
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- In a large dutch oven or soup potover medium heat, sauté onion, celery and carrot in olive oil until they begin to soften and brown. 5-7 minutes.
- Add minced garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Then add potatoes, barley, vegetable stock, wine, thyme, bay leaves and some black pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer with the lid on for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 45 minutes have elapsed, add frozen peas and kale. Cook for 5 more minutes, then remove from heat.
- Serve immediately or portion into airtight containers and store in the fridge for up to 5 days or the freezer for up to 1 month.