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My interests include veganism and vegetarianism, health, ethics, politics and culture, media, and the environment. I have three kids; I teach college part-time, study piano and attempt to garden. I knit. I blog on just about anything, but many posts are related to my somewhat pathetic quest to eat better, be more mindful of the environment, and be a more responsible news consumer. Sometimes I write about parenting, but, like so many Mommy bloggers, my kids have recently told me not to. :) Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Persian Soup (Kinda)

I had this wonderful Persian soup yesterday at this little vegan/vegetarian-friendly place in Eugene, Caspian's. I liked it so much I googled "Persian soup" and found some recipes.

So, since today is my day "off" (meaning the day I shop, cook and do laundry), I decided to make Persian soup. The recipe below is from Recipezaar.com. Totally vegan recipe.

Iranian Barley Soup

1 c. dried barley
1/2 c. dry lentils (any color)
6 c. water
2 medium onions, chopped
2 T. olive oil
1 T. dried mint or parsley (I used 3 T. fresh parsley)
1 t. turmeric
1/2 t. ground black pepper

1. Put everything in pot and bring to boil. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally
2. Add 1 c. cooked chick peas or red kidney beans a few minutes before serving. (I used chick peas.)

Variation: fry onions in oil before putting in pot. (I did this and I recommend it.)

So that's the very simple recipe.

Here's what I did differently.

I used 1 large onion instead of two medium ones. I added FIVE cups extra water (that barley absorbs and absorbs and absorbs). I added 1 bunch chopped fresh spinach and 1 can of chickpeas at the end.

I tasted the soup. VERY lackluster. I was so disappointed.

So, I added a little lime juice and a little curry powder. Still lackluster. It LOOKED like the soup I had yesterday (minus red beans, which theirs had), but something beyond the red beans was missing.

I looked around my kitchen and scoured some cookbooks for middle eastern recipes. While many recipes were virtually identical to the one I'd found on the internet, one (from "Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant") included crushed garlic and lots of fresh tomatoes. And some bay leaves and tomato paste and well...a few other things.

I decided to just add the tomatoes and garlic. This year, my garden runneth over with tomatoes (I have, oh, 45 tomatoes sitting on my kitchen windowsill). So, I grabbed five small ones, diced them up and added them to my stew. And then I added yet more water. That barley really is something.

I crushed three cloves of garlic and added 3 heaping teaspoons of Vege-Base (vegetable soup base mix) to the brew. I tasted it. Voila! Now I have a soup I like. And it's totally vegan. And easy to make and healthy.

Some of the per-serving nutrition facts from the original recipe: 334 calories, 8 g of fat, 16.4 g of fiber, 23% of your daily iron and 25% of your daily protein. Also high in vitamin B6 and low in sodium. Of course, my soup is a little different from the original recipe, but the soup is still high in fiber, iron and protein.


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