Budget- and bulge-friendly barley

2 Mar

My cooking lately has been haphazard, thanks to finishing up the wedding plans, actually getting married, and then not shopping this week. However, I did have a few goodies left in my kitchen this week, so I decided to whip up a barley dish. I was heavily inspired by The Broccoli Hut’s Edamame Barley Risotto, as you can see, but I increased the portions and made a few tweaks. Here’s mine:

(Eaten out of a Santa mug/bowl with a red plastic spoon. Classy!)

And here’s my method:

Barley with Mushrooms and Split Peas

  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 container white mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 2 cups plus 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Crushed red pepper (to taste)
  • Dried oregano (to taste)
  • Dried thyme (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup dried green split peas

Spray a medium saucepan with cooking spray (or use a small amount of olive oil or vegetable broth) and heat over medium. Add the onions with the salt and cook, stirring when needed, until translucent and starting to brown. Now add the garlic and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they soften. This part takes just a couple of minutes. Add the barley and stir for about 20 seconds, and then pour in 2 cups of vegetable broth, the water, and the spices. Increase the heat to boil the liquid, then cover with the lid slightly vented and reduce the heat to bring the dish to a simmer.

About 20 minutes into the cooking time, add the split peas and the remaining 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and continue cooking until the barley and peas are tender, about 20 more minutes. Add additional spices as needed.

Makes four servings.

I don’t normally calculate calories and such for my recipes, but this one is incredibly tasty, easy, and healthy, so I wanted to share it with you:


Total Fat 0.9 g
     Saturated Fat 0.2 g
   Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g
   Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 240.9 mg
Potassium 389.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 48.0 g
   Dietary Fiber 10.8 g
   Sugars 2.9 g
Protein 8.0 g
Vitamin B-6 12.5 %
Copper 20.8 %
Folate 8.2 %
Iron 15.1 %
Magnesium 13.4 %
Manganese 43.5 %
Niacin 21.8 %
Selenium 33.8 %

Not bad, eh? It’s really delicious, too, and reheats extraordinarily well. Plus, barley has been shown to be one of the most diabetic-friendly grains out there, which is good news for my household.

On top of that, it’s cheap! Excluding the spices (which would only add pennies), the whole dish cost $6.43 to make — that’s only $1.61 per serving! Add a spinach salad (~$1 per serving for organic) with a splash of balsamic vinegar on the side, and you have a complete, affordable meal. Obviously, costs vary according to where you shop, but it is 100% possible to eat well, both taste-wise and health-wise, without breaking the bank.


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