It may not feel like spring yet (I wore a long down coat to a lacrosse game yesterday!) but soon we will be seeing some great spring vegetables at markets. Here is a great recipe I adapted from The Italian Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone for a vegan friend. Feel free to change up the vegetables based on what is locally available, and to add herbs and spices that suit your tastes. This is also a great recipe to do in double batches. Enjoy!
1 1/2 cups pearl barley, rinsed and picked over
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup chopped celery
2 medium carrots, chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped mushrooms of your choice
3 cups vegetable broth
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
Salt and pepper
Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker except for the peas, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high for one hour. Stir in the peas and add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another hour, or until the barley is tender and the liquid is absorbed. If the barley is too dry, stir in a little warm water.
Non-vegans: Feel free to top with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and to use chicken broth rather than vegetable broth. You can also add a little butter for added flavor during the cooking process.
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Amy Mariani is the owner of Fit & Fabulous LLC in Winchester, Massachusetts. She is also the nutrition coach at mountainstrength.com. Her mission is to help people eat healthy and love life.
Please note that you should consult with your physician prior to embarking on any major changes with regard to your nutrition. Unfortunately, absent authorization from a medical professional, we are unable to provide individualized nutrition coaching to anyone under the age of eighteen, or to persons with certain medical conditions. We are always happy to work with authorized medical professionals under these circumstances.