Michelle Dudash, Registered Dietician and Author of Clean Eating for Busy Families says, “My grandma’s light-as-air popovers are the perfect accompaniment the idea for this satisfying, hearty stew full of aromatic vegetables.”

Winter Vegetable Barley Stew with Whole-Wheat Popovers


For stew:

2 tablespoons (28 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch kale, thick ribs removed, leaves chopped
1 medium leek, white part only, sliced thin (about 1½ cups, or 134 g)
1 head fennel, bulb quartered, core removed, sliced thin
½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 celery root, peeled, cubed into bite-size pieces (2¾ cups, or 429 g)
¾ cup (150 g) dry pearl barley
6 cups (1.5 L) organic or reduced sodium vegetable broth
3 tablespoons (15 g) nutritional yeast seasoning, plus additional for sprinkling (optional)
1 tablespoon (4 g) chopped fennel leaves (from top fennel bulb)
2 teaspoons (4 g) dried Italian herb seasoning

For popovers:

Expeller-pressed canola oil spray
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup (235 ml) low-fat milk, room temperature
1 tablespoon (15 ml) expeller-pressed grapeseed or canola oil (or melted butter for richer taste)
¼ teaspoon salt (or ½ teaspoon if eaten plain without spread)
½ cup (60 g) white whole-wheat flour
½ cup (63 g) unbleached all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C, or gas mark 8).

To make the stew: Heat a large pot over medium heat and add oil. When oil begins to shimmer, add kale, leek, fennel, and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes, reducing heat as needed. Add celery root, barley, broth, and 1 cup (235 ml) of water and bring to a boil on high. Reduce heat to low and cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar; simmer for 20 minutes until celery root smashes easily and is no longer bitter and barley is tender but still has “chew.” Sprinkle in the yeast (for added flavor), fennel leaves, Italian seasoning, and remaining ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and stir.

To make the popovers: Coat a 12-muffin tin with canola oil spray. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until frothy; then blend in milk, oil, and salt, sift in flours, and mix until smooth. Fill each tin halfway. Bake for 18 minutes until popovers are puffed and mostly browned; then reduce heat to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4) and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes until they are browned evenly. Cool the popovers until they are just firm enough that they can be removed from the pan without collapsing. Tear them open to release steam before biting into them.

Recipe Note

If you’ve never tried kale, here’s your opportunity. Its dark green hue adds a nice contrast, and I crave its earthy cabbage flavor. If you prefer, you can substitute 4 cups (280 g) of shredded green cabbage.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Michelle Dudash, RD and Author, Clean Eating for Busy Families.*

Total Prep and Cook Time: 1 hour • Yield: 6 servings, 1¼ cups (app rox. 170 g) stew each (with 2 popovers)
Per serving: 363 calories; 10 g total fat; 2 g saturated fat; 12 g protein; 56 g carbohydrate; 11 g dietary fiber; 65 mg cholesterol.