Daily Vegan Lunch for 29 December, 2013: Mini Meatball Barley Italian Wedding Soup

vegan mini meatball soup vegan mini meatball soup
The fresh wheat bread with was made by my friend Yoshie from the natto post.  It was delicious.


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.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 21 December, 2013: Curry Fried Rice-Style Barley and Tofu

This is shown with some leftover okra and onions from a lovely vegan dinner at a local Indian restaurant that was one of the best meals I have ever eaten.  Thanks Shuba and Subu!curried fried rice style barley with tofu vegan

1 cup barley, cooked (ends up as about 3 cups)
Water for cooking barley
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 carrot, chopped, or about a cup
Water for cooking carrots and peas
1 tablespoon oil
1 green onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1 tablespoon chili sauce or 2 teaspoons sriacha or tabasco
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1.5 cups firm or extra-firm tofu, cubed and patted dry

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)


Rinse barley and put it into a medium pot with 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook until al dente and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Set it aside.

Pre-cook the carrots and peas.  In a bowl in the microwave, cover the chopped carrots and peas with water and cook on high heat until carrots are tender, about 2 minutes.  Alternately, cover the carrots and peas in water in a small pot on the stovetop.  Cook on high until carrots and peas are tender, about 7 minutes total.  Drain the carrots and peas and set them aside.

Cut tofu into slices and pat them dry with a paper towel.  Then cut them into large cubes.

Mix the hot sauce (chili, sriacha, or tabasco) with cumin, turmeric, and garam masala to make a paste.

In a large pan or wok, heat the tablespoon of oil until it smokes.  Add the tofu, quickly stir-fry and tossing around until they are slightly brown on all sides.  Add the rice, stir fry for about a minute, tossing so it browns but doesn’t burn.  Add drained carrots, peas, and spicy sauce, stir to coat all ingredients.  Finish by stirring in green onion and soy sauce.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 10 September 2013: Mushroom Barley Chickpea Stew

vegan mushroom barley stew

1 Tablespoon oil
1 portabello mushroom, chopped small or 2 cups button mushrooms, chopped

1.5 cups onion, chopped

1 summer squash, cut into small pieces

1 can chickpeas, rinsed

6 cups vegetable broth

1 cup barley

1/4 cup flour for thickening plus 1 cup water


1/4 teaspoon fennel
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon dill

1 teaspoon paprika



In the bottom of a large stockpot, fry mushrooms and onion in oil on medium-high heat until the mushrooms brown and the onion is translucent.  Add  spices and herbs, allow to fry 30 seconds.  Add broth, turn heat to high  (I usually add water, 1 vegan broth cube, and then salt it to taste  with sea salt instead of adding actual broth).  Add squash, chickpeas, and barley, cook for about 20 minutes until barley is cooked and chewy.

Once barley is done, mix 1 cup water and 1/4 cup flour until well blended.  Add to soup and stir until soup thickens, about 2 minutes.


Daily Vegan Lunch for 6 September, 2013: Potato, Barley, and Vegetable Curry

vegan curry barley potato soup



2 cups onion, chopped
2 teaspoons oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 – 3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped

6 cups water
2 vegan broth cubes
1/2 cup Massaman curry paste or other prefab curry in a packet OR tomato paste for non-spicy version


Fry garlic and onions in the bottom of a large stock pot on medium high heat until they become translucent.  Add curry paste and allow it to melt.  Add water, broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery.  Turn heat to high.  Bring to a boil and turn down the heat.   Simmer at medium high heat until potatoes begin to soften, about 10 minutes.  Add the barley.  Cook for another 20 minutes and serve.  Like most soups/stews, it is better the second day.