Tag Archives: barley

Barbecue, vegetarian-style

15 Jan

Last week, I really wanted to try making homemade barbecue sauce. I did it once before with decent results, but I wanted something thick and flavorful to eat this week with mushrooms. I decided to try out the Backyard BBQ Sauce recipe from Veganomicon (which you can also see here) and was quite pleased with the results. I used diced tomatoes instead of canned and pureed the whole thing with my immersion blender at the end. It made one piece of a delicious dinner (well, two, actually):

BBQDinner had a good-ol’ Okie vibe with a healthy spin, as you can see. Sorry it’s so dark but, well, it was dark outside. Ha. Clockwise from left is roasted garlic mashed potatoes and kohlrabi (made this way, but way less and using half potatoes and half kohlrabi), sauteed Swiss chard (it has become my favorite green), and barley and portobellos in the homemade sauce. The night before, we just had the potatoes (but a lot more than that serving) and mushrooms. I preferred the better rounded version.

Even after cooking four big mushrooms in it, we still had about a cup of the barbecue sauce left. What’s a girl to do?

Whole pizzaPizza! This was a Sunday meal. As in, this was basically all we ate on Sunday. It was huge and very filling. On top of the crust (made following this easy recipe), I layered barbecue sauce, jalapeno jack cheese, sauteed mushrooms and onions, artichoke hearts, and then a little more cheese. Fifteen minutes in the oven, and it came out delicious. Here’s a slice:

Pizza sliceI’m telling you: this sauce is perfect for pizza. It’s thick and a little spicy, but it still beautifully complements are favorite pizza toppings. I bet crumbled tempeh would be a great addition, too, and I think you could easily leave off the cheese or sub in Daiya for a vegan meal.


Cucumber flower

27 Aug

Here’s a make-up post of a couple of dishes I made using CSA Week 1 goodies.

For our other dinner last week, I did something Thai-inspired involving lentils, barley, coconut milk, and a bunch of CSA vegetables:

Thai Lentils and Barley

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 6 to 7 cups vegetable broth or water, or a combination
  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
  • 1 bunch of kale, cleaned thoroughly and chopped/torn
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
  • Cayenne, salt and pepper to taste
  • Handful of Thai basil, cut in a julienne

In a large pot, heat coconut milk and 6 cups of broth/water to a boil. Add the barley and reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes. At this point, add the rest of the ingredients, return to a simmer, and cook until the barley and lentils are softened and the liquid is absorbed. Add more broth or water if the liquid dries up before the texture is to your liking. Makes about 5 servings.

As you can see, we served ours with Refreshing Cucumber Salad (lightly tweaked to swap scallions for red onion, omit the agave, and just mix the dressing by hand). We used the Armenian cucumber, which might be the cutest thing ever:

It’s like a flower! I’m really not a big cucumber fan, but I really liked the Armenian variety. They are crisper, firmer, don’t need to be peeled. and the seeds are far less offensive. I’m excited to have more this week.

For dessert, we enjoyed half the honeydew melon and one of the Valencia oranges (sorry it’s so dark):

It was a perfect summer meal that used seven of the goodies from the CSA box. That’s definitely a winner!

Sick day eats

27 Jul

I stayed home from work yesterday nursing a bout of the ickies. I will spare you the details, but it was way, way less than fun. Somehow I gathered the energy to cook not one, but two delicious and satisfying meals.

A couple of weeks ago, the Hungry Hungry Hippie posted a tempeh stew recipe that I filed away in the back of my head. When I was meal planning for this week, I flipped through my copy of Veganomicon and landed on their veganized Cholent. I kinda combined the two ideas and came up with this easy and crazy delicious soup:

Tangy Tempeh Tarragon Soup

  • 1/2 to 1 block of tempeh, diced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (plus more if needed)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth (or a combination)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.25 pounds Yukon gold (or similar) potatoes, chopped bite-size
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Bring a small pot of water to boil, then steam your diced tempeh for about 15 minutes. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat the oil over the medium heat. Add the onion and saute until it softens. Add the garlic, tarragon, salt, and pepper for about a minute. Then add the tempeh (and more oil, if the onion absorbed it all) for about two more minutes. Now pour in the water, bay leaves, potatoes, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. After 30 minutes, check the potatoes for doneness. When they are fork tender, add the beans and peas until hot.

Serves 4 to 6.

Mine was more soupy than stew-like, but I actually liked it that way. Check out all the deliciousness:

I only used a half block of tempeh because I have a bad track record with preparing it myself, but it was actually my favorite part, so I recommend using a whole block. You could also add any sort of veggies to the mix — carrots, celery, green beans, etc.

For dinner, I threw together a pantry scramble meal that actually turned out really well. The whole thang:

For the entree, I used this recipe as a jumping-off point and ended up with a Mexican-inspired dish.

Black Beans and Barley

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup pearled barley, rinsed
  • 3 cups water or low-sodium vegetable broth, or a combination
  • Dash of cayenne
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

In a medium sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium and then add the onion. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper and stir for 1 minute. Now add the barley and stir to combine for 1 more minute. Pour in the water or vegetable broth, add the cayenne, and heat to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover. After 30 minutes, check the barley for doneness. If the water has been absorbed but the barley is still too chewy, add 1/2 cup of liquid. Check in 10 minutes. Repeat the process until the barley reaches the desired consistency. When it’s ready, add the beans, stir to combine, then heat until warm.

Makes 3 servings.

We served ours alongside a simple salad: romaine lettuce, avocado, and a quick mustard dressing (2 tablespoons of my beloved Smoky Onion Garlic Mustard, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, and juice of half a lime).

Perfectly easy and delicious.

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.