I know we’ve been having soup a lot lately, but it has been freezing here. Just really, really cold, and all I want is warm food. Even eating a room temperature apple at lunch today was kind of pushing it. So last night I tried out a recipe that I saw a few weeks ago for lentil and vegetable barley soup.

soup, salad, english muffin

soup, salad, english muffin

Matt liked this soup, but I thought it was pretty bland. Hearty, yes. Filling, yes. Flavorful, no. So I made up for it with a generous serving of feta. And I threw some on the salad for good measure, too.

I liked tonight’s dinner a lot better. However, it was another lesson in “reading the recipe” because, while I had every intention of making this recipe, I came home from work ready to cook and, reading through it again, realized that I was supposed to put things in a slow cooker for 6-8 hours. This would already have been a challenge, as it would have had us eating between midnight and 2am. The challenge was intensified by the fact that we do not have a slow cooker. But, at that point, I was all hyped up to try this, so what I just took inspiration from the original and made it my own way.

vegetarian cassoulet + roasted broccoli

vegetarian cassoulet + roasted broccoli

Here’s what I used:

  • ~tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • 3 parsnips, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 3 cans of great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • ~1 cup of vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • ~tsp dried thyme

And here’s what to do with it:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.
  3. Add onions, saute for 2 minutes.
  4. Add carrots, parnsips, celery. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add beans and broth. Stir. Bring to a high simmer for about ten minutes.
  6. Transfer to a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.
  7. Top with bread crumbs.
  8. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until browned.

This makes 4-6 servings, depending on how hungry you are.

The most exciting part of this experience for me was trying parsnips for the first time. They’re delicious.

I didn’t mess with using any meat substitutes, because I usually don’t like them and because the beans seemed like plenty. Plus, I’ve never had a real cassoulet, so, as far as I’m concerned, this is what they’re supposed to taste like. It was just plain good food, so I’m happy with how it turned out, even without the slow cooker.

Now I’m going to enjoy some cookies painstakingly baked for me by Girl Scouts. And maybe some hot chocolate. I think it’s still snowing, and that really calls for hot chocolate.


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