Slow Cooker Root Vegetable Soup w/ Pearl Barley

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 8-10
Prep: 30-60 mins (*Dependant on skill and desired serving size.)
Cooking time: 4-7 hrs (*Dependent on SC setting.)
Type: Main meal
Tools: Colander, chopping board, sharp knife, slow cooker

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamin C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, magnesium, potassium, zinc and (per serving) is low in sugar, salt and saturated fats!

This is a great autumnal or winter vegetable-based soup. It’s easy to execute and adapted not only to the season but your taste buds! Our variation contains a great blend of herbs and some delicious (chunky) veggies! 

The peas and pearl barley provide a great source of protein, but feel free to swap them for your favourite type of legume, pulse and/or grain; smoked seitan or tofu would also make a tasty addition! Diet permitting, you could add a little lean beef or chicken (we think that this could also work quite well!). 

We cooked the pearl barley separately and would recommend doing so, unless this is only going to be served as ‘one meal’. We have found in the past that the pearl barley keeps absorbing liquid… so your next day leftovers will be more barley than broth! :/

You’ll find that we initially kept the liquid to a minimum; we were waiting to see how much water was given off in the first 3 hours before adding any more! However, we have advised for everyone to add all of the liquid at start of the cooking process. 

Quick Food Fact: Per serving (based on 10 servings!), this soup provides you with about 3.3 servings of vegetables towards your 5-A-Day!

Happy cooking everyone! 😀

 

We used 1/2 the swede and 1/4 of the cabbage shown here; fresh thyme and rosemary not shown here.

 

Ingredients

Need an easy-print version? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

Wash and then chop the potato into chunks. Wash, trim the ends and quarter the parsnip. Transfer the potato and parsnip into a slow cooker.

 

 

Wash, peel and chop the swede into chunks. Wash, trim the ends and slice the carrot; transfer the vegetables into the slow cooker.

The only root vegetable we peeled was the swede; it’s time saving, but it also adds some extra nutrients to the soup (just remember to give your veggies a good scrub first)!

 

 

Peel and dice the onion. Wash, remove the stem and core and then roughly chop the bell pepper. Peel and dice the garlic; transfer the vegetables into the slow cooker.

 

 

 

Wash and roughly slice (or shred) the cabbage leaves. Wash the parsley; remove the leaves from its stem and roughly chop them. Remove the rosemary sprigs from its stem and roughly chop them. Remove the thyme leaves from its stem.

 

 

Add the cabbage, parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage, bay leaf, black pepper and 1/2 tsp of salt  into the slow cooker. Add the pearl barley (if applicable*).

*See above notes.

 

 

Prepare the stock. Pour in the hot stock and some (just boiled) water. Cover with a lid. Cook on a high heating setting for about 3.5 hrs or on a low heat setting for 7-8hrs instead.

 

 

When there is about 40 minutes of cooking time left, defrost the peas. Add the corn flour to a small dish with equal parts water; stir into a paste to form a ‘slurry’. Add the peas into slow cooker. Whilst stirring, pour in the slurry. Stir until dissolved and combined. Cover with the lid. Cook for a further 40 mins.

 

 

In the meantime, cook the pearl barley according to the packet instructions.

Ours took 30 mins to cook. NB: We lightly oiled and seasoned the leftover pearl barley to prevent it becoming one, big flavourless blob!

 

 

Stir and season the soup to taste before serving.

 

 

Serve warm. Place some pearl barley into a large serving bowl (if applicable). Ladle the soup over the barley. Stir together. Garnish with some parsley (if preferred).

We served ours with some tasty spirulina-based bread! 🙂

 

 

Enjoy!

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Potato & Pea Balti

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking time: 35-40 minutes

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, protein, fibre, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and (per serving) is low in sugar and saturated fats!

OK, so it was another curry night here at Eat2Health, but (to some of you) this recipe might seem a little like it’s from Cheaty-McCheat’s kitchen… and we can appreciate that this idea is partially true! We sourced and used a reasonably healthy (jarred) curry sauce. Everyone is entitled to have a ‘night off’ from a full-blown cooking marathon from time to time…we just have to be mindful about the products we choose to use, and of course consider ways in which we can easily improve the nutritional balance of our meals…

Which is what we took on board when using this sauce!

Our product instructed the user to cook it with chicken and fresh chillies and then serve it with naan bread. Firstly, this might be the authentic and traditional method, but the chicken is a no-go for us. Secondly, we’ve commented about how we feel about naan bread before…and thirdly, where are the recommendations for vegetables?! Even though this sauce was made from some veggies (but the first ingredient was water by the way!), it’s not going to go far to account for your 5-A-Day quotas. 

We decided to use hearty potatoes, robust peas and some fibrous and nutritious tomatoes, bell peppers and spinach instead! We added extra flavourings, such as the ginger, chilli and turmeric etc. because we knew the tomatoes would dilute the sauce slightly; herbs and spices are always a healthier way to flavour your meals without adding extra salt.

The result was a delicious and healthy meal! Balti’s by nature are tasty, tangy and not overly spicy; admittedly I found ours a bit spicy… I guess the ginger, chilli and mustard seeds added some extra heat! Once I just added some plain/unsweetened soya yoghurt, everything was fine! 🙂 You could also try serving this curry with some of our savoury flat bread (as a tasty addition and/or to diffuse the heat!), but we found this curry super filling as is.

Per serving the sauce provided: 62kcal, 3g Sugar, 4g Fat, 0.3g S/Fat and 0.5g Salt. Like any processed foods, the fat, sugar and salt contents must be considered; there is no point in buying a product with very little sugar and/or fat but it still contains high/unhealthy levels of salt (and vice versa!). Amusingly (to us anyways!) this product we used had less salt (per serving) than our favourite baked beans that we occasionally buy!

One last thing before we cook! As it’s coming to the end of the UK’s ‘National Salt Awareness Week’, we hope that you’ve been taking note of some of the advice brought to your attention not only by us, but by lots of other social media sources! Let’s all work hard at getting the national salt intake average down from 8.1g to the government recommended levels of 6g/day.

 

Let’s all Eat2Health everyone (#lesssalt!)! 

 

Quick facts:

  • The word Balti roughly translates to ‘bucket’. This is because the word refers to the type of cookware used and not to the ingredients. This type of curry is traditionally cooked in a steel or iron (and even copper coated) pan that looks quite similar to a Chinese ‘wok’; the pan is called a karahi (a ‘Balti pan/bowl’).

Traditionally it can be prepared with meat and vegetables and is served with naan bread; it’s considered a medium-hot curry (but we think this rating can be loosely translated- depending on your heat threshold!).

  • Per serving (*based on 4 servings), this recipe provides you with approx. 4 portions of fruit/vegetables towards your 5-A-Day!

 

 

Ingredients:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++1kg           Baking potatoes
+++++++++++++++++++++++++300g       Frozen garden peas
+++++++++++++++++++++++++200g       White onion
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g             Garlic cloves
+++++++++++++++++++++++++90g          Raw ginger root
+++++++++++++++++++++++++16g           Red Chilli
+++++++++++++++++++++++++100g        Frozen sliced bell peppers
+++++++++++++++++++++++++140g         Frozen spinach
+++++++++++++++++++++++++                 Fry spray (low-fat cooking oil)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++1g             Turmeric
+++++++++++++++++++++++++4g             Brown mustard seeds
+++++++++++++++++++++++++285g        Balti curry sauce (one jar)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++400g       Tinned plum tomatoes

 

 

Directions:

 Wash and chop the potatoes into small bite-sized pieces.

 

 

Place the potatoes into a large saucepan full of cold water or a medium-low heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain.

 

 

In the meantime, place the peas into a steamer pot with some water. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Steam for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Drain.

 

 

Meanwhile, place the bell peppers and spinach into two separate microwaveable dishes. Place the dishes into the microwave. Heat the vegetables on a defrost setting. Drain.

 

 

In the meantime, peel and dice the onion and garlic. Wash, peel and grate the ginger. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and dice the chilli.

 

 

Place a large saucepan over a medium-low heat. Spray it with a little low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

Add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Gently fry for 1-2 minutes or until softened.

 

 

Add the bell peppers. Mix to combine.

 

 

Add the turmeric and seeds. Mix to combine. Gentry fry for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

 

 

Pour in the sauce. Add the tomatoes. Stir to combine.

 

 

Add the potatoes, peas and spinach. Gently stir to combine.

 

 

Allow to curry to simmer for approx. 5 minutes (or longer if desired). Remove from the heat.

This step is just really to heat the sauce; if you prefer richer flavours, allow it to simmer for a big longer.

 

 

Cover with a lid. Allow it to rest 5-10 minutes (if you have time). We always find that the flavours taste best when the meal is not boiling hot!

 

 

Serve warm. Ladle into a large serving bowl and garnish with some fresh coriander and mustard seeds(if desired).

We garnished ours with a bit of semi-defrosted coriander- hence why it doesn’t look as vibrant as fresh coriander!

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

If preferred…

  • Make this a two-pot dish! Cook all of the ingredients in one large saucepan (except the potatoes) and adjust the cooking times accordingly.
  • Use a variation of vegetables and/or legumes, pulses or baked tofu! Curries are very adaptable and taste great with most plant-based foods! Non-vegans can add a combination of lean meat, poultry or fish with a medley of vegetables!
  • Create your own balti paste using fresh ingredients; make it as neutral or as spicy as you like!

 

Sources:
The Curry House