For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been trying to pretend that it’s fall. You know, crisp cool days with crunchy leaves underfoot, and the smell of the first wood fires of the season. With temperatures still in the 80s, it’s not all that easy. Not that I don’t love living in California, but I do miss those days. My two favorite days of the year were the day that it first turned cool and crisp in the autumn, and that day when it was finally warmer and the snow and ice started to melt and you just knew that spring was around the corner. Those change of season days are the best.
So in the spirit of pretending that it’s autumn, I made soup last week. I wasn’t sure what kind to make but I remembered having bought barley recently. I love barley, but I often forget to buy it, so I wanted to make it the centerpiece of the soup….. and there was born a great vegan beef barley.
Vegan Beef Barley Soup
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 10-14 oz. vegan beef crumbles
- 8 cups liquid
- 2 cups cooked barley
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
There are so many different options for the vegan “beef” crumbles – you can use chopped seitan, Soyrizo, Gardein or Beyond Meat crumbles, or any other brand or crumbles that you can find. When I was shopping, I saw a package of Field Roast chipotle crumbles, so I used those. They gave a nice spicy flavor to the soup.
Heat the grapeseed oil (you can use coconut oil if you prefer) in a soup pot and then add the onion and garlic. Saute until translucent and add the celery and carrots. Cook them until they are crunchy-tender and add the crumbles. Cook everything together for a few more minutes until the crumbles start to brown.
Add the liquid, barley and spices. For the 8 cups of liquid, you can use any combination of broth and water that you like – just make sure it adds up to 8 cups total. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes, until everything is heated through.
I decided that I wanted to make the soup a little bit richer at the end, so I added 1 tablespoon of olive oil at the end, and heated it into the soup. This is optional, and it’s perfectly wonderful with or without the extra oil.