Ellen Britt - A Teenage Foodie who Explores Dinner, Dessert and Salad Ideas
This recipe was one of my own creations and was a delicious blending of fresh vegetables and grains. Sesame seasoned chickpeas, red cabbage, snap peas, dates, and barley to name but a few ingredients make this dinner not only delicious but healthy. It will become a staple in our house as you can make this with so many variations, however this variation is a winner. Bon Appétit!
Total Time: 35 minutes
1 cup pearl barley
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups chopped mushrooms
1 cup chopped white onion
1 tsp dried rosemary
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 tbsp butter
Vegetables & Ham
1 to 2 cups of shredded or cut red cabbage
2 cups of fresh snap peas
6 to 8 dates minced
2 cups of chopped black forest ham
1 540 ml can of chickpeas (or dried chickpeas rehydrated)
1 fresh red bell pepper chopped
3 to 4 sprigs of cilantro
Sprinkling of roasted sesame seeds
Bring to a boil 3 cups of chicken broth and add barley. Stir thoroughly to avoid clumping and bring back to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes or until tender. Stir regularly to avoid clumping and to ensure the liquid does not evaporate. I needed to add an extra ¼ cup of broth as the stock evaporated before the barley was fully cooked to my liking.
While the barley is cooking heat a pan with 1 tbsp of butter and add the mushrooms. Cook until slightly tender and then add the onions and dried rosemary. The onions are done when they shimmer in your pan. Set aside until the barley is cooked.
Once the barley is cooked add the onions and mushroom mixture to the pot. For my dinner bowls I like to have the grains warm but not hot.
Vegetables and Ham
Heat the chickpeas for about 1 minute on high in the microwave. Be sure to cover with saran leaving a small slit or opening in the top for the air to escape. You can also heat these on the stove.
Chop the red cabbage and bell pepper into strips. These do not need to be cooked. Trust me raw is best for this dinner bowl and the red cabbage and bell pepper both add a wonderful peppery taste.
Chop the cooked ham into cubes. You can buy a single slice or two of ham at the grocery store if you do not have a full ham.
Blanch the snap peas. You want them to be crunchy and blanching will give them just a little bit of a cook while adding an extra green punch to the dinner bowl.
Now comes the fun part! You get to be creative with your assembly. I first added the barley mixture to the bottom then added the snap peas, red cabbage, chopped dates, cut bell pepper, chickpeas and ham all topped off with a sprig if cilantro and sesame seeds. My other approach was to mix everything up. Either way you have a rainbow of colors and flavours in your bowl.
The dressing is an absolute must as it ties all the yummy food flavours together. For this bowl I used a sesame dressing which was a perfect complement to the roasted sesame seeds sprinkled on top.
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup virgin olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp honey
½ tsp fresh ginger shredded
1 clove of crushed garlic
This is an easy and delicious dinner that is ready in 35 minutes.
One cup will give you plenty of barley. It expands considerably when cooked. We had left overs for a couple dinners the following night.
1 cup is close to 1/2 an onion
I always like to add mushrooms to recipes where
I used a garlic press to crush the garlic.
I used Campbell's low sodium chicken broth but feel free to use any brand or better yet - home made. Water is also okay but I like the added taste of broth.
This is the start of a very yummy dinner. While this is cooking you can start to prepare all your other ingredients. The recipe preparation takes as long as the broth to cook - just a short 25 to 30 minutes.
It doesn't take long for the barley to double in size. It is very important to keep stiring once the volume increases as you don't want the barley to stick to the bottom of the pan or form clumps.
Make sure to taste test your barley to be sure it is tender and done to your liking. If needed add a bit more both if not tender enough. Food sampling is the best!!
Thoroughly cook the mushrooms and onions. The onions should be soft and shimming when cooked
The aroma of the mushrooms, onion and rosemary added to the barley is wonderful!
The dates I choose had to be pitted before cutting. Once Chopped they added a sweetness to the dinner that was delicious.
I used Black Forest roasted ham but you could use any ham or even chicken to include in your bowl.
When cooking the snap peas I suggest blanching them. Blanching is when you put your vegetables directly into boiling water for a very short time. They turn a bright green while still retaining their crunch.
If you haven't tried red cabbage before it has a wonderful peppery flavor.
I cut this into slivers which added a beautiful red color as well as an extra peppery taste.
First time using canned chick peas and they were perfect. Dried are also easy but you should let them soak over night which means you have to plan your meal in advance.
This is the fun part! I started with the barley mixture followed by chick peas and then red cabbage. You can however do what every pleases your eyes and taste buds. The goal is to make your bowl a work of art.
Going for that rainbow of colors and tastes.
Having fun mixing it all up for this bowl.
Don't forget the dressing. It ties everything together
As there were three of us having dinner I got to be a bit creative with every bowl.
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By Ellen Britt