One way to help the environment is to eat less meat. Like I discussed in 5 Ways to Cut Back on a Carnivorous Family’s Impact, you don’t have to go whole hog vegetarian (hee – unintended oxymoron there) if you don’t want to. Choosing to have just one or two meatless meals a week can make a positive impact.
I’m committed to going meatless at least twice a week in my house, and as I find or create good recipes, I’ll be sharing them with you from time to time. This recipe is perfect for vegetable gardeners right now because it uses several garden ingredients just when you’re getting a little tired of making the same old thing with them.
Today I made 17 Bean and Barley Soup from a mix I bought at Trader Joe’s over the weekend. The bag has a mix of dry beans and barley, and I provided the rest of the ingredients, mostly following the recipe on the back of the bag.
To the mix (after soaking the beans for 12 hours) I added 8 cups of organic vegetable stock, tomatoes (garden fresh) and various herbs and seasonings (including fresh basil from my garden), and sauted garlic, carrots, onions, celery, and green pepper (another straight from the garden treat). Then it simmered for an hour.
It was very easy, and for those who are looking to save time, many stores now sell what the French call a pre-cut mirepoix – carrots, celery and onion already chopped up and ready to put in thousands of recipes. Buying these vegetables already chopped can save quite a bit of time, but actually, I enjoy chopping vegetables. I find it relaxing.
This soup packs a wholop of nutrition – loads of fiber and protein, lots of fresh veggies, and very little fat. In fact, the only added fat was the two tbsp. of healthy olive oil I sauted the vegetables in. And since the soup was so low in fat, my husband and I didn’t feel guilty at all slathering a piece of homemade bread (from my bread machine) generously with butter to accompany it.
My carnivorous husband’s remark at the end of lunch, “Excellent.”
I’ve seen mixes similar to this in many grocery stores. You don’t need to shop at Trader Joe’s to find one. The back of the packet should have a recipe on it, so before you leave the store make sure you have all you need to make the soup. With fall upon us, it’s the perfect time to start making soups, and this one is meatless, filling and yummy.