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After years in brown rice limbo, vegan gets hot


After years in brown rice limbo, vegan gets hot

Posted: January 8, 2011 – 5:08pm
This photo shows Mediterranean barley vegetable stew in Concord, N.H. Vegan food is a celebration of produce, as is this stew. AP

This photo shows Mediterranean barley vegetable stew in Concord, N.H. Vegan food is a celebration of produce, as is this stew. AP

Vegan food gets a bad rap among meat eaters. It’s typically portrayed as bland or somehow lacking.

This stew is anything but. It is flavorful, colorful and full-bodied. It doesn’t require a trip to the natural foods store. It doesn’t even contain any soy or vegetable meat-wannabe products. Vegan food is a celebration of produce, as is this stew.

Castelvetrano olives are a bright green, buttery Sicilian olive. Many grocers carry them jarred alongside the other olives. If you can’t find them, substitute whatever variety you prefer. Be sure to adjust the salt after you add the olives, as some are quite salty.

MEDITERRANEAN BARLEY VEGETABLE STEW

Start to finish: 1 hour

Servings: 6

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 medium yellow onions, diced

28-ounce can chopped tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted

4 cups (1 quart) vegetable broth

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, minced

1 1/2 cups pearl barley

12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into strips

5 ounces fresh baby spinach

1/2 cup castelvetrano olives, pitted and sliced

1 cup water

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

In a large saucepan over medium, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, shallots and onions and saute until soft and translucent, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, broth, rosemary and barley, then bring to a simmer. Cover and continue to cook until the barley is tender, about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Stir in the roasted red peppers, baby spinach, olives and water. Cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 338 calories; 73 calories from fat (22 percent of total calories); 8 g fat (1 g aturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 61 g carbohydrate; 9 g protein; 12 g fiber; 947 mg sodium.

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