BRYANNA’S BARLEY AND WINTER SQUASH CHOWDER (WITH SOME OPTIONS)
This is a lovely, homey soup for fall and winter.
5 cups vegetarian broth-- my favorite is Better Than Bouillon Vegetable or No-Chicken vegan broth base
1 pound winter squash (such as butternut), peeled and seeded and cut into 3/4" cubes (If you have no squash, you can use peeled sweet potato.)
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups reconstituted Soy Curls® (See here for info; or use commercial or homemade vegan “chicken strips” or "shreds"; or slivers of smoked or baked tofu, or "chicken"-style seitan.
3/4 cup pearl barley
8 ounces red potato, diced (Instead of the potato, I sometimes use 1/4 cup of split red lentil.)
1/4 cup chopped celery leaves and tops
1 tablespoon vegan bacon bits (or use smoked salt or a little liquid smoke)
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried savory
1 1/2 to 2 cups non-dairy milk (I use creamy soy milk-- a non-sweet vegan creamer could also be used, OR any non-dairy milk blended smooth with some soft-medium or silken tofu to thicken.)
salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
Place the broth, onion, squash, chicken substitute or tofu, barley, potato, celery, soy bacon bits (or liquid smoke), bay leaf, thyme, and savory into a soup pot and bring to a boil. Turn down to low heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the milk and taste for salt and pepper. Sprinkle each serving with chopped parsley, if you like. NOTE: If the soup is too thick, or gets too thick when cooled, just add a bit more broth until it is the consistency you like.
Nutrition (per serving): 236.1 calories; 8% calories from fat; 2.2g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 86.8mg sodium; 659.4mg potassium; 47.8g carbohydrates; 8.7g fiber; 4.1g sugar; 9.0g protein.