Vegan Lentil Barley and Tomato Stew

Since transitioning from meat eating to a vegan diet I've encountered very few difficulties. It was really quite easy. Actually, it feels like that's what my body wanted all along. It feels natural. I don't miss meat or milk. Though I must admit, once in a while I wish for some good vegan cheese, which I've yet to find. But I press on and I forebear.

I love the fact that I can cook in big batches and not worry much about spoilage. I also love the textures and tastes I get from the succulence and crunch of a variety of vegetables. That's where this recipes comes from.

Ingredients:

1/2 pearl barley
1/2 dry lentils
2 1/4 cups water
1 tsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic minced (divided in half)
1/2 small red onion diced
6-10 stalks asparagus
1 can plain petite cut tomatoes
1 small fresh tomatoes diced (optional)
1 packet or 1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 cup frozen kale
1/4 cup frozen corn niblets
salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, basil
a pinch of chili powder

To a large sauce pan add water, 1/2 tsp olive oil, barley and lentils. Cover. Bring to a boil and then let simmer. Stir occasionally, but not often.

Rinse asparagus and then break off the bottom stems. Just hold stalks at mid point and end and bend. It will break at about the right spot.

Add the other 1/2 tsp olive oil to a fry pan and heat. When oil begins to shimmer turn the pan to coat the bottom with the oil and add half of your minced garlic. Stir and saute 1 minute. Add your prepared asparagus, stir and cover. Cook asparagus about five minutes turning once or twice during the process. When done remove from pan to cool plate or bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Once your lentil/barley mix has cooked 15 minutes add the can o tomatoes and kale and let cook 2 minutes more.

Chop your asparagus into 1/4 inch rounds.

Then add onions, asparagus, optional fresh tomato and garlic to the lentil pot. Cook 2 minutes longer.

Add some of each spice (a few shakes) a little extra salt and pepper. just a dash of chili powder. and add the packet of soy sauce. Stir thoroughly and taste. Adjust spices to your liking.

Turn off the heat, but leave hot pot on warm burner. Add corn niblets. Stir and replace cover. Let sit 5 minutes.

Your stew is ready to serve.

It's great all on its own. Over toast. With rice or pasta. Potatoes. A side of salad. Anything suits it. It's good hot and cold. I hope you enjoy it.

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