Veggie Bean Barley Soup in the Pressure Cooker

Image of barley soup in a ladle.
Soup Season!

I love soup in the cold months, especially on a rainy day. Do you? This hardy soup is easy and can be frozen, as well. It can be cooked in a pressure cooker (or Instapot) or a standard pan.

Ingredients

  • 10 cups of vegetable broth or water and broth mix
  • 1.5 cup uncooked barley
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced (sauté in the olive oil if desired)
  • 2 cans canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 zucchini’s, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of dried parsley
  • 1 bag of frozen corn kernels
  • 3 cups cooked navy beans (or 2 cans)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Process

Sauté onions in olive oil if desired. Add onions, oil, and other ingredients except corn, beans, salt and pepper to the pressure cooker. Bring to high pressure and cook 10 minutes. Lower temperature to low and bring pressure down. Add corn and beans and continue to simmer until cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Delicious!

Splendid Spoon – The Trial

A few weeks ago, I decided to give Splendid Spoon (http://splendidspoon.com – not an affiliate link). a try. I signed up at the standard cost and plunked down my money for a week’s subscription to show up at my door.

And then I waited for my selected delivery day – Wednesday. The order arrived. Theoretically, it was food for 5 breakfasts/snacks, 5 lunches, and a day of soup fasting. They anticipate you will make something else for your dinner.

Eating 3 meals just doesn’t happen in my life, so for me, this was going to be 5 brunches and 5 dinners, and then the extras spread out into the next week since I’m typically not at this location on the weekends.

I timed it pretty well, because shortly after I got the order, I broke my foot.
Oops. That was unexpected. So, it was good to have food around that I didn’t have to really think about to get a meal in. And, living on my own Monday to Friday, it wasn’t like someone was going to make dinner for me.

The food arrives frozen and WAY packed in ice. It could sit out for quite a while and would not thaw enough to be a problem. After you receive it, you can let it thaw in the fridge and use within a week, or keep in your freezer. The soups mostly come in bowls (with a few exceptions) and the smoothies in bottles.

I’m now finishing up my second delivery from Splendid Spoon and here are my general thoughts. The soups are good. I like to add some salt or salt substitute, nutritional yeast, or hot sauce to them. They tend to be a little bit bland, but are quite filling and the ingredients don’t taste over-cooked. The broccoli still has a bit of crunch, which is nice. I haven’t run into a soup that I really didn’t like, though the beet bowl was not my favorite. While they say that you can eat them at any temperature, I find that I prefer them hot.

The smoothies are ok. I prefer my smoothies to be pretty smooth and most of these have some sort of texture that requires chewing, whether that is coconut, nuts, or seeds. Because I don’t do the soup fast, and some of those come in the smoothie containers, I’ve been a little fooled a couple of times. I tried to drink a bottle of apple and parsnip straight up and cold and then gagged on the onion flavor.

Would I recommend Splendid Spoon? Yes, with reservations. It’s not inexpensive if you are using it for 2 meals a day and then adding a third meal, plus having 1 day a week that you have to have other food for. Since I’m supplementing only with a little probiotic stuff (yogurt and sauerkraut), some apples, coffee, and other drinks, and then some food on Saturdays and Sunday mornings, it’s not so bad. I’m also only getting a shipment every 2nd or 3rd week.

But, if cooking anything interesting for yourself is a struggle, this might be a good idea. And, there is no commitment, so it’s worth it to get a week and try. You can order once and stop, or keep going but skip any weeks you are not interested in.

Have you tried a food delivery service with vegan items? What did you think?

Black Bean Mole Chili with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

IMG_2405b

Warm, spicy, rich, and full of vitamins. This vegan black bean chili can be served with the roasted potatoes and spinach in the bowl or on the side. Delicious!

Ingredients IMG_2397b

2 lb black beans
3-4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
5-6 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
4-5 celery sticks, sliced
1-2 large onions, diced
8 cups fresh baby spinach
2 large cans diced tomatoes
2-3 jalapeños, sliced
4 T of vegetable broth powder
4 T of cumin
3 T of chili powder
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1 T turmeric
1 T sea salt
1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter
4 T olive oil

Process

In a large pressure cooker, add beans, 2 T olive oil, onions, celery, carrots, jalapeños, cocoa powder, chili powder, turmeric, cumin, sea salt, diced tomatoes, and 3 quarts water (so, everything except the sweet potatoes, spinach, peanut butter, and 2 T of olive oil). If the broth does not cover the beans by at least 4 inches, increase water until it does.

Place lid on cooker and bring to high pressure. Cook at pressure 15 minutes and then turn off heat and allow to depressurize. Once pressure is released, test beans for doneness. If beans are ready, add peanut butter, stir until melted in, and allow to simmer 5 minutes to cook.

While the chili is cooking under pressure, toss sweet potatoes with remainder of olive oil. Spread on a baking stone or pan and cook at 350* until potatoes begin to soften, stirring occasionally. Pile spinach on top and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake until spinach wilts and potatoes are tender.

Serve potatoes and spinach on the side, or add a large spoonful to the bottom of your bowl and ladle chili on top. Add vegan sour cream if desired.