2 tablespoons oil
5 cloves garlic
2 cups onion, chopped
1.5 cups celery, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
1/4 cup vegan baco bits
3/4 cup tomato paste OR 1 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon basil
1 cup pearl barley
Up to 1 tablespoon of salt or to taste
1/2 package of Gimme Lean refrigerated vegan sausage, rolled into balls
In a very large stockpot on medium heat, fry garlic and onion in 2 tablespoons of oil until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add carrots, baco bits, sage, basil, and celery and allow it to stir-fry for about 5 minutes more. Add ten cups of water. Turn heat to high. Bring the soup to a boil and then turn heat to medium-high, allowing it to simmer at a low boil for 20 – 30 minutes or until the largest piece of carrot is fork tender.
Stir in the cup of pearl barley. It should take about 20 – 30 minutes to cook.
Meanwhile, roll Gimme Lean into balls and fry them at medium-high heat in a pan in a small amount of oil or in a tablespoon of water until they are brown. You can also use purchased frozen veggie meatballs, cut up veggie sausage, or a can (do not fry) of rinsed, cooked beans such as navy beans or kidney beans.
Stir in the tomato paste or sauce.
You might have noticed at this point that this soup does not use broth. When you consider that all vegetable broth is pretty much the strained water from boiling vegetables a long time, you can see why I didn’t worry about using actual broth. Add salt, little by little, until the soup tastes good, up to a tablespoon.
Add the fried meatballs or unfried beans to the soup.