Prep 20 mins
Cook 45 mins
This is originally from Cooking Light, but I modified it a bit because the reviews on their website all mentioned how bland it was. I added some spices and left out the nuts (although you can add them back; they are listed below as optional). The recipe originally calls for winter vegetables, but use what is in season for the best taste. This is a very satisfying meal. It has a little more tooth than rice-based risotto, but I actually preferred it that way. It is also made with a whole-grain, unlike regular risotto, so it has more fiber and other nutrients. This can be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock instead of chicken. I wouldn't recommend making it vegan by leaving out the cheese, as that seemed to add a lot to the dish. Serves 4 as a main dish, 8 as a side dish.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1⁄2 cup onion, chopped (I use frozen, unthawed)
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 4 cups reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth, divided
- 1 1⁄4 cups pearl barley, uncooked
- 1⁄2 cup parsnip, diced
- 1 1⁄2 cups carrots, diced
- 1 cup cauliflower floret, chopped
- 1 cup broccoli floret, chopped
- 1 1⁄2 cups bell peppers, chopped
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 teaspoon seasoning salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
- 2⁄3 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated and divided
- 1⁄3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 4 minutes or until browned. Add 3 cups broth and barley; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and barley is al dente.
- Meanwhile, combine parsnip, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, bell pepper, remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, black pepper, seasoned salt, and chili powder on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray, and toss well to coat. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring after 10 minutes.
- Add the remaining 1 cup broth to the barley, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next. Stir in parsnip mixture and 1/3 cup cheese. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 cup cheese, pecans (if used), and parsley.
This is a simple absolutely delicious recipe. I did not use as much cheese and it was still very tastey!
If my picky child likes it, it gets 5 stars! :) The barley was chewy (not mushy) and the vegetables still had a little crunch. I reduced the green bell pepper to 1 C and I chopped everything (except cauliflower and broccoli) in my mini chopper to make it more palatable to the kids. I used a combo of red and yellow onion. I also chopped the garlic in the chopper (I hate my press - too wasteful.) I didn't use the nuts or the parsley. After adding cheese and veggies, I let it cook a little while longer to absorb more of the liquid. Lots of leftovers, since no one was real hungry tonight.