Baked Barley and Vegetables

I made this in the fall when Jon was out in the field and really enjoyed it but it had since fallen off my radar. Then the other Friday I had the strangest craving for it and spent my whole 5 mile run thinking about this dish. I got home and panicked because I couldn’t find the recipe and I needed to make it. I tore my recipe cupboard apart, finally finding it in the Weight Watchers Versatile Vegetarian cookbook. Success!

I had to change it up a bit to fit what we had in the fridge and the fact that Jon doesn’t eat mushrooms but the end result was delicious. We ate it for dinner on the Wednesday and lunch on the Thursday. Then I spent all of my run the following Friday thinking about the leftovers so I ate them as a post run snack. I still wasn’t satisfied so I made it again on Sunday for dinner. You might say that I like it, a lot.

You could use whatever vegetables you have in the house in this dish and use any kind of stock you’ve got on hand if you’re not too picky about it being vegetarian. I like it with Portobello mushrooms but the following recipe is mushroom free to keep Jonny happy!

Baked Barley and Vegetables
(adapted from Weight Watchers Versatile Vegetarian Cookbook)

2 carrots, finely diced
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
8 sun-dried tomato halves or 2 diced Roma tomatoes
2 tbsp oil
italian seasoning (about 1 tsp)
salt and pepper
1 cup pearl barley
1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
about 1/4 cup grated cheese (whatever kind you like)

Preheat oven to 350F. If you are using sun-dried tomatoes, place them in a bowl of warm water (or wine) for about 10 minutes to soften up then dice (or cut with scissors).

Heat oil in a frying pan and saute carrots, onions and green pepper until softened. Add spices. Pour into a 8″x8″ baking dish. Add the barley, tomatoes and broth. Stir together. Tightly cover with tin foil and bake for 1 hour until the broth has been absorbed and the barley is tender but still chewy.

Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Eat, and then eat some more. Keeps well for lunches and snacks.


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