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Barley stew with black beans, figs and smoked tofu

Posted Sep 14 2009 8:32am

Black beans are amazingly healthy and I'm really going to cook more of these! Did you know that black beans are loaded with antioxidants? It's all in the colour of the beans- darker beans have more antioxidants.

By the way, watch out with making the switch to heavy Autumn meals after summer food. Eat small portions of these heavier meals and let your body adjust to the shift. Have a fruit salad for dessert and left-overs of this stew can be eaten the next day for lunch with some fresh bread.

To make this stew first sautee different vegetables in a heavy pan with oil. I used vegetables like carrots, zucchini, leek, and garlic. I also added savory herbs. When the vegetables are sauteed add black beans, smoked tofu, potatoes, and a bottle of passata with two bay leaves, stock powder, nutritional yeast flakes, salt and pepper. Let the stew cook until all the vegetables are done, adding water if necessary:

Now prepare the barley in another pan. I cook the barley separately first because the cooking time can take longer than cooking the vegetables. Cook barley the same way you cook rice. It'll take about half an hour. You can also soak the barley before cooking it. I did this by soaking the barley in water and placing it in the fridge a few hours. You can also soak them overnight which would make the cooking time short- like about 15 minutes. Barley swells when it becomes soft. When the barley is almost done I drain it and add it to the stew. Continue to cook the barley in the stew until the barley is soft and soaked up the broth:

The dried figs I cook in some water until they become soft, then cut them in pieces and add them to the stew.
A nice beverage with this meal would be red wine or pomegranate juice.
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