Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Vegan Barley Casserole Via Crockpot

The first recipe I chose to make for Crockpot Week is "Barley Casserole," which I found online. The recipe was simple enough; I made it easier by using a package of pre-cut mixed celery/onion I purchased at Meijer, adding in a little bit more onion (again, pre-chopped but from the freezer section!). Also, I didn't use fresh garlic, but the pre-minced kind in a jar. The only real prep work I had to do was chop a green pepper. Everything else was open and pour. :)

Overall this meal was pretty good, palatable to my omni fiance, too. It was kind of like a real thick tomato-based soup. We ate it with some rosemary olive oil bread. However, we both agreed the dish needs... je ne sais quoi. Something needs to be added to take this dish from "pretty good" to "Wow." It definitely has potential and I hope to fool around with it someday to make it better.

Vegan Barley Casserole

Prep Time: 20 minutes. Cook Time: 8 hours.

  • 1 cup uncooked pearl barley
  • 1-1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/8 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 oz. can ready-to-serve vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts or chopped walnuts
Keep the pine nuts/walnuts aside, but place all other ingredients in the crockpot. Cook on low for up to 8 hours or until the barley and veggies are tender. Top with the pine nuts/walnuts before serving.

A few of my personal cooking notes about this meal: The estimated prep time was 20 minutes, which I found to be about right. Cook time was stated as 8 hours, though I thought the casserole looked done around 5-6 hours. It got really thick so I thinned it out with more veggie broth as well as some water. I should've kept track of how much additional broth I used; I'll be more careful about that next time. If you chose to make this, you may want to do it on a day when you'll be around to check on it and add in some extra broth here and there.

And, apologies for the crappy photo; now that it's getting darker earlier in the evening, I need to figure out the best lighting to use for my photos. I have a homemade lightbox that I've used to take photos of things I've sold on eBay, but my current space restrictions don't allow for that to be set up as often as I take food photos.

My sister has invited me to take part in her "Halloween Pasta Night" on Wednesday. I plan to make my next crockpot meal--a pumpkin soup--that evening to go with the pasta. Come back to see how it all turns out! :)


VeggieGirl said...

all I had to do was read the title of this post, and I KNEW I'd be sold on the recipe - I LOVE barley, and thicker soup-type meals, so this looks/sounds PERFECT!! yum :0)

Vegyogini said...

Thanks for providing me with a photo proving that a barley "soup" made in a Crock Pot could actually come out looking like soup and not risotto. ;) I'll definitely keep checking back to see your progress w/ the CP this week!

The Little Vegan said...

Hehe I love the concept of "crock pot week".

DEFINITELY go to Gobo!
(And get the ginger sesame seitan!!!)

the pleasantly plump vegan said...

i love using crock pots. they make beans taste so creamy.

Veggie Cookster said...

veggiegirl, I don't know if you caught my post back in February about the Barley "Risotto" with Mushrooms (http://veggiecookster.blogspot.com/2007/02/i-gave-myself-birthday-present-this.html) but THAT dish was awesome. It came from a Weight Watchers book I borrowed from the library. I'm sure I have the recipe around here if you'd like it. :)

Veg-a-Nut said...

HI, I just found your site and love it. I love my crockpot, but I too have problems with my soups getting too thick and burning when I am away. I must try this barley dish. Sounds wonderfully comforting.

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brian7 said...

This post was delicious. I found this really helpful for my homemade granola recipes.