Hi, I'm DR. Leah

Dr Leah Romay DDS

Hey there, and welcome! Here you’ll find inspiration and resources to live a clean and healthier life. To learn more about me, click here!


When I go about making a recipe, my goal is always to make something that’s straightforward and makes eating healthy easy. I truly believe that my health is one of the most important things in life and it’s worth preserving every chance I get. 

But people always say things to me like – “isn’t that a lot of work?” or “I could never do that” or “my husband will never eat that,” etc etc etc… And you know what, I hear ya! I’ve been there! But here’s the truth – eventually it becomes second nature and easy. Eventually you will be surprised that you were worried about missing donuts or cheese. Like any skill or habit, it definitely takes time to learn to make healthier foods and prioritize health, but over time, it becomes so easy, you’ll wonder what took you so long to start!

Yet I hear…

“But I could never give up [insert any junk food here]” 

So I ask…

But you could give up years of your life instead?

You could give up playing with your children, or grandchildren? Being able to run around and not feel like crap?

You could give up feeling and looking awesome?

I feel like a broken record about this all the time: health is easy to take for granted until it’s gone

Recipe for a hearty barley stew that is plant-based

So with that off my chest… Let’s make some stew! This is easy. Seriouslyyyy!! 

And *ahem*, I have received many complements on this stew. My Peruvian friend, Elias, said it tastes like something his mom would make back home. Now that’s comfort in a bowl! 

This recipe is very much a throw-it-all-in-the-pot, set it and forget it, kind of deal. Simple. Relatively fast. A good opportunity to hone those knife skills. Yes, eating plant-based does entail a lot of chopping. Which is why it’s a must to get a big and sturdy cutting board (like this) and a big knife. A pairing knife just isn’t gonna cut it – get it? (lol) But in all seriousness, tiny knives are going to take FOREVER. And we don’t have all day! I love my 8″ chef knife. It feels big at first, but then you get used to it. And the more you practice, the closer you’ll be to Iron Chef Status. 


Let’s segway to talk about celery root as I realize this may be an obscure ingredient for some folks. Here’s what celery root looks like (^above image). It is a large root and can range from the size of a softball to even larger, Chernobyl sizes. For this recipe, I am staying away from radioactive roots and just using a softball sized one. In order to prepare it, you must slice off the outside skin and all those gnarly roots. There’s always a lot of dirt trapped in there so make sure you clean your cutting board off after you do that outer peel.

Recipe for a hearty barley stew that is plant-based

The key to this soup is chopping all your veggies and mushrooms about the same, medium bite sized pieces. Doing so will make the soup look cohesive and it will allow everything to cook evenly.

Also, this stew recipe is a perfect template for what I literally call “I’m cleaning out the fridge soup.” What I do is pull out all the random veggies I have in the fridge and put them all together. Don’t have celery root? No problem, how about potatoes, rutabagas, turnips. Don’t have kale? How about spinach, Swiss chard, or arugula? Don’t have anything? Well then that would be rock soup, my friend. 


Oh and if you don’t like mushrooms, then just leave them out . They do provide a small amount of protein, but the main protein source is the beans. I love the meaty texture of mushrooms, so the more the merrier for me! 

Recipe for a hearty barley stew that is plant-based

So there we have it, hearty barley stew. Vegan of course, delicious as always!

If you make this stew, please tag me in a photo on Instagram as I would love to see you eating well to be well! 🙂 That just makes me happy!




Dr. Romay

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Hearty Barley Stew

Makes about 4 large bowls

Hearty and filling, this stew is loaded with a variety of veggies and mushrooms that could easily be substituted depending on what you have on hand. This stew makes great leftovers and is perfect for a chilly night!

Author: Leah Romay


  • 550g mushrooms, such as cremini or shiitake, quartered or cubed
  • 250g celery root, cubed (aka celeriac) [*see notes]
  • 250g carrots (about 4 carrots), cubed
  • 175 g celery (about 4 stalks), cubed
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 3-4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carton (4 cups) mushroom or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c hulled barley, not pearled* [pearled is more processed]
  • 80 g kale, chopped, about 2 cups
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley, plus additional for serving garnish
  • 1 T dried or fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 can cannellini beans, or pre-cook from dried beans


  1. Heat 2 T olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 min. 
  2. Add celery, celery root, and carrot with salt and 8 grinds black pepper. 
  3. Continue to sauté veggies for another 4 mins or so. 
  4. Add in the mushrooms, parsley, and thyme and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add broth and barley, stir to combine. Cover and increase heat to high. Bring to boil then reduce to a very low simmer. 
  6. Cook for 40 minutes, or until the barley is tender, but still has some chew. 
  7. When there are 5 minutes left on your timer, add in the cannellini beans and chopped kale. Cover the pot and cook for the remaining 5 minutes to fully wilt the kale.  

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Dr. Leah Romay is a dentist passionate about health and wellness and believes that health is possible for everyone. She’s been in the kitchen cooking from scratch for most of her life and greatly enjoys creating healthy and delicious recipes. In addition to practicing dentistry full time, she spends her free time developing recipes, reading scientific studies, and helping others live their healthiest lives through evidence-based lifestyle and diet. Read more about Dr. Romay and her story here.

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