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Barley and Me

December 2, 2009
tags: ,

I crack myself up.

How is your night going?  Mine is going well!  Another round of classes down…3 more to go! 

Between teaching my classes, I snacked on some Delta Biscoff cookies that I snagged on our plane ride home last weekend.  Yum!  I love those things.  Plus, I’m pretty sure Delta is the ONLY airline that still gives you any sort of a snack. 

When I got home, I was HAUNGRY, so we got to work on dinner right away.  This recipe kind of came out of nowhere, but it was really good!  Spontaneous recipes that work out well are the best! 

Barley with Mushrooms

1 cup Barley

1 tsp. olive oil

1/3 cup onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

1 cup fresh spinach

1/4 cup vegetable broth

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

In saucepan, combine 1 cup of uncooked barley with 3 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.  Let cook for 40 minutes to an hour, until liquid has been absorbed. 

While barley is cooking, heat olive oil in a sautee pan and add onion and garlic.  Cook for about 5 minutes, until they have begun to soften.  Add mushrooms and cook for another five minutes, until mushrooms have begun to brown and reduce.  Add spinach and cook down.  Add broth to deglaze the pan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately over hot barley, topping with chopped parsley and 2-3 tbsp. of cheese.

Here are some pics of the process:

The mushrooms, onions, and garlic, at the beginning of the cooking process:

And again, after it’s all been cooked down, with the spinach:

The barley, ready to go after about 40 minutes on the stove:

Plated up and lookin’ good:

After digging in:

Delicious!  It kind of reminded me of risotto, but the barley is chewier, with a denser texture than arborio rice.  I think you could definitely make it even more risotto-esque by stirring the cheese directly into the barley, rather than sprinkling it on top. 

And did you know…

  •  The United Nations uses barley as a relief food for those in famine-stricken countries because of its ability to support human life better than any other single food.
  • In ancient Rome, barley was used as food for gladiators and was a staple for the Roman army.
  • Barley transforms into a gel in the GI tract, slowing its passage through the body, which in turn allows maximum nutrient absorption.
  • It also stabilizes glucose levels and is great for use by diabetics.
  • Barley is can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, control hunger,  and boost the immune system.
  • Barley is rich in soluble fiber.

Pretty cool stuff!

Hope you have a great night!

19 Comments leave one →
  1. December 2, 2009 1:44 am

    That looks delicious!

    I might have to try it with Quinoa (even though apparently barley is amazing for SOO many reasons as you listed) since I have a 4lb bag of it.

    • December 2, 2009 2:39 am

      I think it would be delicious with Quinoa!

  2. December 2, 2009 2:03 am

    That looks so yummy!

  3. December 2, 2009 2:46 am

    That looks easy and good Anne. Did Ryan add any kind of meat to his?

    • December 2, 2009 2:52 am

      He didn’t, but I was thinking (in my former meat-eating mind) some sort of turkey sausage would have been delicious with it.

  4. Emily permalink
    December 2, 2009 3:08 am

    I’m proud of Ryan for sticking with this, too! Does he add meat less often now?

    • December 2, 2009 11:48 am

      He does eat less meat. He’s had a few days where he’s gone vegetarian and not even really noticed it, and then at the end of the days has said, “Hey! I ate all vegetarian today!”

      He still eats turkey sandwiches for lunch on most days, but that’s about the extent of his meat intake right now.

  5. December 2, 2009 3:21 am

    Oo that looks awesome!! I don’t think I’ve ever used barley to cook with. Definitely want to try that! I bet barley burgers would be good! 🙂

    • December 2, 2009 11:49 am

      Ooh, I bet you’re right! Maybe I’ll try to make some…we have a LOT of leftover barley 🙂

  6. December 2, 2009 3:43 am

    Barley and me … very creative ; ) haha.

    That looks like a perfect dinner! I LOVE mushrooms!

  7. December 2, 2009 4:20 am

    I’ve heard from other people that those Biscoff cookies are really good. I may have to fly on Delta next time just so I can try some! 😉

    • December 2, 2009 11:50 am

      They are really good! They’re really crunchy, and not too sweet, with a hint of cinammon and graham taste. I wish you could order them from Delta or something!

  8. December 2, 2009 7:03 am

    Hi Anna,

    Wow .. that looks very tasty. I’ve never used barley before, so thanks for sharing your recipe! I am really keen to try it!

    I am newlywed too, and turned vegetarian for my hubby about 6 years ago and haven’t looked back.

    Nice to stumble upon your blog!

    Anna (aka Ladybird) x

    • December 2, 2009 11:51 am

      Hi Anna (aka Ladybird!),

      Thanks for stopping by the blog! I’m excited to get some new ideas from yours as well!

  9. December 2, 2009 9:24 am

    oooh what a yummy looking dinner! Mr BBB loves Roman history so I will have to pass your tidbit re the roman army onto him 🙂

  10. December 2, 2009 11:13 am

    Oh boy I really have some catching up with blog reading to do :). I haven’t cooked with barley in quite some time and your meal sounds so yummy. I hope I can give it a try soon 😉

  11. Ginger Lowe permalink
    December 2, 2009 1:25 pm

    That looks delicious! I think we’ll have it tonight after Dad’s guitar lesson! He’s gotten into the Roman history, with his collection of coins, so he’ll enjoy knowing about the barley connection. We’re loving your recipes!!

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