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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Vegan Nourishing Stew!

Stew makes me smile! I love the smell of it while it simmers on the stove. I remember when my mom made stew while I was growing up. It was so delicious then and it's even better (and much more healthier) now. The hardest thing about making stew is the preparation: washing and cutting the veggies...so it's not hard! I love making stew because you can really branch out and be so creative. I don't really know how I came to make this 'famous' (among my family) stew...I made the lentil stew from Tosca Reno's Eat Clean book a few times and tried a vegan stew from Planet Organic and then sort of branched out, taking a few ideas from here and there to create my own! The best bonus about making stew, is that it tastes even better the second day! In fact, I often make it at night while we are playing with Noah and then I know our dinner is ready for the next day! This recipe makes a large pot so be prepared for leftovers!

Jay's Vegan Nourishing Stew:
1 yellow onion, chopped into small pieces
5 cloves of garlic, pressed through a garlic press
1 leek, whites cut into pieces
2 zucchini, cut into pieces
1 yam or sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 potato (white or 4-5 baby whites), cut into pieces
2 carrots, peeled (local, organic don't need to be peeled!) and cut into pieces
3 celery stalks, cut into 1/4 inch slices
6-8 mushrooms cut into pieces (use your favorite!)
3 handfuls of shredded kale leaves or bok choy
2 handfuls of broccoli, broken into small pieces (or cauliflower)
ginger, cut a piece and squeeze the juice into the pot
2 - 946mL containers of low-sodium vegetable broth (I use Pacific Organic)
5 bay leaves
1-2 tbsp. of Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 can of lentils (I use Eden Organic)
1 can of organic diced tomatoes (optional)
1/2 - 3/4 cup of pearl barley
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
pinch of sea salt and pepper
2 tbsp. of olive oil

Heat the olive oil into a large pot (a low heat of 2 is perfect since olive oil is best when used over a lower heat setting). Add the yellow onion and garlic and cook for 3- 5 minutes, turning every minute to cook evenly. Pour the 2 containers of low-sodium vegetable broth into the pot, bay leaves, and add all the veggies except for the kale (or bok choy). Add the pearl barley at the same time as the veggies and cover the pot with a lid. Let the stew simmer until the pearl barley cooked (it will appear soft...about 30 minutes). Remove the lid and stir the stew, adding the kale or bok choy. If you are using the tomatoes, add the can of tomatoes as well as the lentils. Drizzle the stew with the ginger, Braggs, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, sea salt and pepper and turn the heat to low. Let the stew marinate and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Taste and if necessary, add some more flavorings (remember it will just get better the longer you let the stew sit)! Remove from heat and serve with warm toast (I like to spread lentil hummus over top of the toast...it really compliments the stew - Planet Organic makes a delicious lentil hummus)! Place the leftovers in the fridge and enjoy for the next 2 days! If you are single and won't be sharing, you can freeze some too!

This stew is so soothing and comforting and I just feel clean and refreshed and healthy after consuming a bowl! It fills me up and makes me smile! I love watching Noah savor my stew! Enjoy!

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