Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Barley Vegetable Salad for World Vegan Day !

I am kind of in the middle of a pantry cleaning project. What I mean is, I haven't set myself any deadline to finish this project in, nor have I restricted myself from going to the grocery store, however, I am trying to use up the myriad things in my pantry that I have collected over my myriad trips to the grocery over the months - things that seemed new or interesting or just the ingredient for the awesome recipe that I read on the internet...you get the idea.
So, I had this packet of quick cooking barley on one of my shelves and I had lunch to make for myself - ingredients met need and my vegetable barley salad was born ! Its a pretty quick and forgiving recipe - while the barley is cooking, you could get all the other ingredients chopped and in 15 minutes you would find yourselves with a hearty dish that will satisfy your palate and your tummy !

1/2 C quick cooking barley
3/4 C chopped raw vegetables (cucumber, red / green / yellow bell pepper, carrots)
1/4 C frozen peas or corn (thawed)
1 tsp lemon or lime juice (fresh preferred)
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne powder (optional)
2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro leaves  
Additional toppings :
2 saltine crackers
1 tsp chopped peanuts
1 tsp dried cranberries or raisins  

1.Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a wide pan. Add quick cooking barley and cook for about 5 -8 mins until al dente (Follow directions on packet or until you get the desired texture for barley) Make sure its not overcooked, because you do not want mushy barley in your salad ! )
2.In the meantime, chop all vegetables, thaw out any frozen veggies, if using. Drain the cooked barley and rinse in cold water.
3.Combine with the vegetables. Add lemon juice, salt, black pepper, cayenne powder if using and mix well . 4.Let rest for about 10 minutes for the flavours to combine. Do a taste test and adjust accordingly.
5.Sprinkle cilantro leaves and any other toppings and dig in !

You wont be hungry , I promise !

Notes: You can use pearl barley here, just adjust the cooking times.
Barley is a major cereal grain and is considered quite nutritious. It is a low glycemic index food and will not cause your blood sugar to spike. It is a great source of fiber and is naturally cholesterol free and lowfat.
It also contains several vitamins and minerals necessary for good health. However, it does contain gluten, so cannot be consumed by people with wheat allergies.
(Information from http://www.barleyfoods.org/nutrition.html )

Have you tried barley before ? Do share your favourite vegetarian barley recipes !

Happy World Vegan Day !

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