Slow Cooker Mushroom and Barley Stew Recipe (Vegan) & Chinese Medicine learnings
Welcome to another Kiah’s Kitchen recipe post. I recently read a book called Food for the Seasons: Eat Well and Stay Healthy the Traditional Chinese Way by Lun Wong, it was a gift from my mum for Christmas and I loved it! I have actually been getting fortnightly acupuncture treatments since around October last year from Nashira at Middle Path General Practice of Chinese Medicine. I have already made some changes to my diet based on the Nashira’s advice and have been feeling a lot better for it. Reading this book really helped me to understand why some of these changes were necessary for me and provided great foundation knowledge of the role diet plays in Chinese Medicine overall.
According to the principles of Chinese Medicine, autumn is the time for nurturing and supporting our organs, fluids and blood as we transition into the cooler weather. It is important to move away from summer salads to more warming foods – both in temperature and in qualities. It is a great time to start introducing soups and stews, the longer food is cooked for the more warming it is and the easier to digest, so time whip out the slow cooker!
The recipe I am sharing today is a Slow Cooker Mushroom and Barley Stew which is perfect for this seasonal transition time. I created this recipe to address some of my own health objectives, however I feel it is a great option for anyone looking to nourish their body and energy at this time of year. The stew contains barley which is great for building strength, blood and supporting yin, mushrooms which benefit the lungs and stomach, carrot which strengthen the spleen and boosts digestion, celery to benefit the spleen and liver and reduce the effects of wind which can be felt in autumn, and potatoes to strengthen the liver yin and benefit the spleen and qi. The stew is cooked over a period of 5-8 hours making it more warming and easily digested.
Health benefits aside, this stew is a great autumn staple, it is full of flavour and so easy to make, you can throw everything in the slow cooker in the morning, set it on low and come back at dinner time to dig in. I do hope you enjoy this recipe!
If you make this delicious stew, please let me know how you liked it in the comments below, and if you share it on social media, please tag @kiahs.kitchen or #KiahsKitchen so I can check out your creations!
Until next time, enjoy the plentiful fruits and veggies that autumn has to offer, stay healthy and take care of yourselves!
Slow Cooker Mushroom and Barley Stew (Vegan)
Warming, nourishing and delicious autumn stew, as simple as throwing everything in the slow cooker, set and forget!
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 4 cups salt reduced vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- 400 grams mushrooms
- 150 grams oyster mushrooms
- 3 large carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 4 medium potatoes
- 3-4 cloves garlic
- 1 large leek
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bunch parsley (for serving)
Clean and slice the leek, carrots, celery stalks and mushrooms and add to a large slow cooker
Wash the potatoes, dice into 2 cm pieces and add to the other vegegtables
Add all remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and stir everything through
Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 5 hours (until barley is cooked through and vegetables are soft)
Serve immediately with fresh parsley and cracked black pepper
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight refrigerator for up to three days or frozen for up to one month to ensure maximum freshness. I cooked this on high for around 5.5 hours and it turned out perfectly, different slow cookers may vary, adjust based on yours.