Slow Cooker Vegetable Barley Stew

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This Slow Cooker Vegetable Barley Stew is perfect for those who love cozy and comforting soups, but also want to eat more plant-based foods. It's a simple and satisfying stew that's loaded with vegetables, beans, and barley, all cooked in a rich and flavorful broth.
Dinner
Freezer Friendly
Slow Cooker
Vegetarian

There's nothing like a warm bowl of soup to warm you up on a chilly day. But sometimes, you want something more filling and substantial than a thin broth. That's where this slow cooker vegetable barley stew comes in. It's a hearty and healthy meal that will keep you satisfied for hours.

This stew isn’t just tasty, it’s also packed with nutritious ingredients. You'll get plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from the colorful vegetables, such as onion, garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms, and green beans. You'll also get a boost of plant-based protein and fiber from the cannellini beans and barley, which make this stew thick and creamy. And you'll love the savory and smoky flavor from the herbs and spices, such as thyme, bay leaves, and smoked paprika.

The best part is that you can make this stew in your slow cooker, which means you don't have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Just sauté the vegetables in a skillet, then transfer them to the slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients. Then, let the slow cooker do its magic, and come back to a pot of delicious stew that's ready to eat. You can serve it with some crusty bread for a cozy and comforting meal that everyone will love!

Customizing Your Stew

One of the great things about this stew is that you can easily modify it to suit your taste and preferences. Here are some suggestions for how you can change it up:

  • Swap the vegetables: You can use any vegetables you like or have on hand, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, kale, spinach, or corn. Just make sure to chop them into bite-sized pieces and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
  • Swap the grain: You can use any grain you like or have on hand, such as wild rice, sorghum, millet, or buckwheat. If you do choose a gluten-free grain, you may want to add a corn starch slurry (equal parts corn starch & cold water, mixed) to the stew in the last hour of cooking to help thicken the broth to your desired consistency.
  • Add more flavor: You can add more flavor to the stew by adding some Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, or tomato paste. You can also add some fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, or basil, at the end.

Storing and Reheating

This stew makes a large batch, so you'll likely have some leftovers. Here's how you can store and reheat them:

  • Refrigerate: You can store the stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, you can microwave it in a bowl for a few minutes, or heat it in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until hot.
  • Freeze: You can freeze the stew in freezer-safe containers or ziplock bags for up to 3 months. To reheat, you can thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, or microwave it in a bowl for a few minutes, or heat it in a pot on the stove over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until hot. You may need to add some water or broth to thin it out if it's too thick.
Slow Cooker Vegetable Barley Stew

Slow Cooker Vegetable Barley Stew

Prep Time:
15 min
Cook Time:
8 hours, 15 min
Total Time:
8 1/2 hours
Serves:
8
Difficulty:
Easy
Equipment Needed
  • 8 quart slow cooker
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 lbs cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup green beans, fresh or frozen, cut into ½ in pieces
  • 1 ½ cups of cooked cannellini beans, or 1 - 14oz can
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 8 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 cup of pearl barley, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and golden.
  2. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the vegetable broth, green beans, cannellini beans, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, smoked paprika, and barley and stir well. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until the barley is tender.
  3. Discard the bay leaves and stir in the vinegar. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
Recipe Tips
  • The barley will thicken the stew as it cooks, and continue to thicken in the fridge or freezer. You can always adjust the thickness to your liking by adding in more vegetable broth.
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