Tonight I decided to make a Barley Casserole from Alicia Silverstone’s ‘The Kind Diet‘. This is the first vegan recipe book I bought and it is really inspirational. At first I was confused with some of the ingredients that she mentioned in the book. However, since I’ve been trying out different recipes I have grown more accustom to them. Things like miso paste , brown rice syrup, garlic powder and sea vegetables, usually didn’t enter my kitchen. Since I’ve been trying new stuff I realise how versatile these ingredients are. Many vegan recipes use these kinds of ingredients, so I don’t find that they stay at the back of my cupboard for long. I really recommend this book, not just for vegetarians, but for anyone looking to broaden their horizons to cook healthier meals.
Anyway, this is only the second time I’ve cooked with barley. I think the last time was over a year ago and it wasn’t very successful. I think I must of undercooked it, because I remember it being a bit hard. However, I saw it again at the supermarket, on sale in the organic section and I thought I would give it another try. I’m so happy I did, its a really great grain, with lots of flavour and I found it very easy to digest. According to WHFoods barley is “very good source of fiber and selenium, and a good source of phosphorus, copper and manganese…In addition to providing bulk and decreasing the transit time of fecal matter, thus decreasing the risk of colon cancer and hemorrhoids, barley’s dietary fiber also provides food for the “friendly” bacteria in the large intestine.” So I think barley will become a regular grain in my kitchen.
This recipe was very easy to make and my family loved it. Only thing is that I miss read how to make the tahini dressing. I didn’t blend it or add water. I kind of mixed it and just put blobs of it on. I was wondering why it was so thick and could not be poured on. Nevertheless it still turned out fine. Also I used pearl barley instead of hulled. I could not find hulled, so I guess the pearl took less time to cook. Hulled is more nutritious so I will be on a mission to find it. Although I only cooked 2 cups of barley, this is enough for a family for at least 2 nights. I accompanied it with some steamed sweet corn cobs, sautéed english spinach and some home-made hummus. The hummus actually went really good with the casserole. After that meal I feel really great. Don’t feel that heavy sluggish feeling I usually do after dinner. Looking forward tomorrow for hummus on toast for breakfast and barley as a easy side dish for dinner.
Barley Casserole (from The Kind Diet) (nf)
Ingredients: 2 cups pearl barley, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 large sliced onion, 3 cloves of sliced garlic , 2 grated carrots , 2 stalks of diced celery, 5 tbsp shoyu/soy sauce, 1/4 tsp sea salt/herbamare, 1/4 tsp dried basil, 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp garlic powder
Tahini Dressing: 1/2 cup tahini, 1/4 small sliced onion, 1 tbsp shoyu/soy sauce, pinch of garlic powder, pinch of paprika, 1/8 tsp dried basil, pinch of oregano
1. Take a large saucepan and boil 3 cups of water, then add 2 cups of barley. Cook for about 30mins or till barley is soft. (You may need to add more water during cooking it). Strain excess water once cooked.
2. Pre heat over to 180 degrees. Heat olive oil and large fry pan, then add onion and garlic. Cook for 5 mins. Add bit of water if onion browns to much
3. Stir through carrot, celery, shoyu, salt, basil, oregano, and garlic powder and cook for 5 mins.
4. Add barley and stir through for further 3 mins on medium heat.
5. Prepare tahini dressing. Take small fry pan and cook onion with 2 tbsp of water. Cook for 4 mins till soft.
6. Take blender, add onion, 1/2 cup of water and rest of the ingredients. Blend till creamy.
7. Take large casserole dish and add 1/2 of the barley and then layer with 1/2 of tahini dressing. Add rest of barley then top with the rest of tahini dressing.
8. Cook for 35 mins in the oven, then serve.
Quick & Easy Hummus (gf, sf, nf)
Ingredients: Can of Organic Chickpeas, 1 large clove garlic (finely sliced), 1 tbsp tahini, 3 tbsp cold press extra virgin olive oil, juice of 1 small lemon, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1tsp herbamare sea salt, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1. Either use a blender or just a hand held mixer. Blend chickpeas, garlic, olive oil and tahini
2. Then add lemon juice, garlic powder, cumin, sea salt and cayenne pepper. (Either blend or stir through)
*I usually go by taste, so add more of the spices, lemon or salt depending on your taste.