My package of barley in my cupboard has been taunting me. I have only brought it out once to cook my Tomato Barley Risotto and since then it has been pushed around ruthlessly as I pass over it for other grain alternatives. Honestly, if I had to choose I would pick rice or quinoa over barley, but, like wheat berries, it offers a good change of pace every now and then. However, after having the mushroom barley soup at Brioso the other day, I have been wanting more barley. I have also been dabbling in a new cookbook, Appetite For Reduction, which offers 272 pages of healthy, figure-friendly, vegan dishes. The book is by Isa Chandra Moskowitz who wrote Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. In other words, this girl knows her vegan food and, Appetite For Reduction is one amazing cookbook.
Scarlet Barley combines the hearty and slightly crunchy barley grain with the slight sweetness of beets to create a beautiful, red and super nutritious meal. Even if you are not a fan of beets I urge to try this dish. I never cared for beets that much, but I’m coming around to them. This dish gives you just a hint of the beet and pairs nicely with the tartness of the lemon juice, making the barley full of flavor.
Scarlet Barley (adapted from Appetite for Reduction)
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 beet (I used 2 baby beets), grated
Juice of half of lemon
Fresh dill for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat a pot over medium heat. Saute the garlic in the olive oil for about 1 minute. Add several pinches of pepper and the bay leaf. Add the barley and broth, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir and lower the heat to low. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. When most of the broth has absorbed, mix in the grated beet. Cook for another 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you need to add a little more liquid, feel free to so the barley doesn’t stick to the pan. It will soak in while continuing to cook, don’t worry.
3. After about 45 minutes of cooking, turn off the heat and mix in the lemon juice. Taste for salt and season as desired. Cover and let sit for another 10 minutes.
4. Remove bay leave and serve. Garnish with fresh dill.
*Note: Trader Joe’s sells precooked baby beets. I used two of those little guys and they worked perfectly!
This dish exceeded my expectations and I can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch today :)
Facts on Barley:
One serving provides 180 calories, 1 gram of fat, 8 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein. Hello nutrition!
Pair it with a bean, veggie, or tofu dish to complete the meal! Stay tuned. I’ll post the recipe on my pairing for the Scarlet Barley.