Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Illness fighting barley and chickpea stew

I already have a few barley recipes on Bite-Sized Thoughts and pearl barley is one of my favourite grains for adding into soups. At the same time, I have a tendency to forget about it so it can be many months between barley appearances in my kitchen. With being ill this week, I craved it and set about making what was to be a barley containing soup. I packed so much into the saucepan that it turned into a stew as there wasn't room for any more water!

Barley itself doesn't have proven illness fighting benefits, but like all whole grains, it is full of fibre and a mix of vitamins. This stew is then boosted by curry powder, featuring both turmeric (which has proven anti-inflammatory properties) and cumin (with less proven but still reputed benefits), garlic (well documented benefits for immunity and colds), ginger (good for nausea and inflammation), paprika (which contains a mix of vitamins), and heaps of vegetables packed with vitamins and minerals. In addition to all these features the stew is delicious.

This makes a big batch so you could easily freeze some, especially if you add extra liquid and turn the stew into soup as I originally intended.

Illness fighting barley and chickpea stew
A hearty, nutritious mix that is perfect for winter and winter colds
Vegan and low in fat
Serves 6 to 8 (more if you add extra liquid to make this soup)

Allow at least an hour of cooking time, longer if using raw chickpeas

Author: Bite-sized thoughts

2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp ginger puree or chopped fresh ginger
1 tbsp curry powder, OR, 1/2 tbsp each of turmeric and cumin
1/2 tbsp paprika
4 cups (1L) vegetable stock
1 cup uncooked chickpeas, soaked for at least an hour, or 1 tin (1-1/2 cups) of the pre-cooked variety
1 cup uncooked pearl barley
4 cups (1L) water (more if you want to make this into soup)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
200g kale, chopped

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, paprika and a dash of the vegetable stock. Saute for several minutes until fragrant and the liquid is absorbed.

If using raw chickpeas, add them to the pan now along with the rest of the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and allow to boil for approximately 5 minutes, before reducing heat to medium-low and simmering, covered, for approximately 45 minutes. If using pre-cooked chickpeas, simply skip this step and add the chickpeas when you add the other vegetables below.

Add the barley to your pan along with enough water to ensure the barley is fully covered. Bring to the boil and allow to boil for approximately 5 minutes, before reducing heat to medium-low and simmering, covered, for approximately 10 minutes.

Add the remaining vegetables to your pan along with the remaining water and continue to simmer, covered and stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes or until all ingredients are cooked. If you prefer your kale to be crisp, you may want to add this closer to the end.

Submitted to Healthy Vegan Fridays.

What foods do you turn to when sick?


  1. Oh I am sorry to read that you are poorly and hope you recover, this is comforting food indeed and jam packed. I've also posted a Barley Salad recipe today for Vegan Mofo, but guess what I have also made another Barley Salad recipe with purple cabbage, but the flavours are mild and need perking up - I like your spiced up version even though its more of a stew. Take care.

    1. Your barley salad was well timed :-)

      Thank you for the well wishes, very much appreciated!

  2. I feel the same about barley - it is so good in soups but I don't use it enough - but I think it sounds like a great way to make you feel better - hope it works!

  3. I know what you mean - there's something about the colder weather that makes me reach for the barley. I think the bouncy texture is just lovely! Hope it does the illness fighting trick!

  4. I love hearty soups when I'm sick. It's no fun being sick and being mum at the same time though. Hope you feel better soon. At least stew is easy to eat with one hand while you have mini Bite resting with you!

    1. It's definitely a new challenge juggling illness with parenting. Not one I'm loving but I am sure it won't be the last time - all part of the deal I guess! Thank you :-)

  5. Sorry to hear that you have been poorly; I hope you are on the mend. This stew sounds delicious.

  6. Oh I hope you're feeling better Kari! It's that time of year, the germs are multiplying ten fold :(
    It sounds like you found the perfect thing to help you heal though. This sounds like a wonderful stew - so warm & comforting.
    Thanks so much for sharing this at Healthy Vegan Fridays! Hope you're feeling better and having a great week =)


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