This side dish idea is an inspiration from 2 recipes I cross-referenced. I borrowed this idea from a pasta and broccoli recipe but used barley instead for a gluten-free and lighter version. I also thought about imitating a baked barley recipe in one of my cookbooks but decided to cook it instead. Baking would have been too time consuming for me. Interestingly enough, hubby quipped that the texture of this side dish was similar to that of risotto which I suppose you can theoretically use if you prefer risotto instead of barley. To honor the upcoming holiday of Tu B’svhat, I used barley, sun dried tomatoes, and broccoli which sort of resembles miniature trees. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate side dish idea for this occasion. I thought about including dried mushrooms and toasted pine nuts but didn’t go through with the idea. I will, however, include those additional ingredients for your enjoyment. As one of the Seven Species (wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates), barley is a grain with a nutty flavor with a pasta/risotto constancy. Dating back to the Biblical era, barely has been and is still used in many side dishes and stews. Pearled barley, as used in this recipe, is hulled barley that has been polished so that the bran of the kernel are removed. While pearled barley is lower in nutrients than hulled barley, it cooks more quickly. As a less familiar side dish than rice pilaf, couscous, pasta or potatoes, barley can dress up a meal. For instance, you can throw in some chicken. For a dairy version, you can include crumbled goat cheese as well. Healthy and easy to prepare, this side dish is perfect for potlucks.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 4 gloves of garlic minced
- 1 cup of sun dried tomatoes
- 1 cup of dried mushrooms (optional)
- 1 cup of broccoli florets
- 1 cup of pearled barley
- 2 1/2 cups of hot vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
- 1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts
- Salt and pepper for taste
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for about 5-7 minutes. Add broccoli, sun dried tomatoes, and mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Add pearled barley to the skillet. Cook, stirring often, for another 3 minutes. Slowly pour in hot broth. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 45 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat. Keep covered for another 5 minutes. Uncover and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in parsley, lemon zest and toasted pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper.
Yields 4 servings