Monday, November 21, 2011

Spicy and Sweet Barley

It's Recipe Redux time again . . . and guess what we were pleasantly surprised to find the theme was! A Whole New Grain! Awesome, since that's kind of our thing. Now I know all of you have heard of barley before (corner on the barley market, anyone?), but when's the last time you used it?

Here are some of the health benefits of barley:
  • Contains 8 essential amino acids
  • Eating whole grain barley can regulate blood sugar (i.e. reduce blood glucose response to a meal) for up to 10 hours after consumption
  • A 1 cup serving has over 50% of your daily recommended fiber intake
  • Helpful in lowering cholesterol
  • Shown to be helpful in preventing cardiovascular problems, lowering risk of heart failure and type 2 diabetes and even childhood asthma.
Whole grains can do amazing things. If you don't have barley on hand, this recipe would also be great with quinoa. Either way, you're getting your whole grains.

1 T coconut oil
1/2 onion chopped in thin slices
2 minced garlic cloves
3/4 C barley (you could replace 1/4 C with quinoa)
3 3/4 C water
2 tsp salt
2 tsp thyme
1/2 to 1 tsp finely chopped chipotle pepper or 1 to 1 1/2 tsp chili powder (or a little of both if you like it extra spicy)
1/3 C brown rice
2 C fresh spinach
3/4 C coarsely chopped walnuts
1 tsp honey
dried cranberries

1. Heat oil in med. saucepan stir in onions and garlic. Stir and let soften on medium heat for 3-5 min.

2. Sir in barley and quinoa and let brown a little for about 3 min. Continue to stir the mixture.

3. Stir in the water, salt, spices, pepper and brown rice. Let it come to a boil and let boil for about 2 min.

4. Turn down to simmer and cook 45 to 60 min. Till most of the water is absorbed and the grains are softened. Don't stir too much or it will turn mushy.

5. Heat up a small skillet and sir in honey and walnuts and let them cook on med heat till lightly toasted about 3-4 min. Take off heat and let cool. Take out of the pan before they cool all the way or they may stick. If they get stuck to the pan you can reheat them a little.

6. Drain off excess liquid in a strainer. Let cool.

7. Prior to serving toss in the spinach and sprinkle walnuts and cranberries on top.

Barley info links here and here.

Other Redux Bloggers' Links


  1. This looks so yummy - and holiday friendly too! I love barley and never use it enough - will definitely be making this recipe.

  2. Perfect theme for you this month and I want to try this too......most of my barley goes into soup!

  3. Looks VERY yummy! I love barley in salads. Especially like the additions of walnuts and cranberries.

  4. I love the idea to serve on a bed of baby spinach...what a nutrition powerhouse of a dish!