creamy barley with tomatoes & greens.

Severe culinary boredom set in about 3 days ago. It’s very possible that researching pie, baking pie, and thinking about pie 24/7 left my brain fried and my culinary creative muscle devoid of strength.

I stole the idea for this dish from Real Simple last winter and only got around to making it now, after deciding I needed to make something I’ve never made before to flex my culinary brain. It’s similar to risotto and quite warm and comforting, and even though I failed to take pictures, I thought I’d share it here since it was so yummy.

(I’m so sleepy from planning a Brave New World unit, that a photo of barley just didn’t cross my mind.)

I altered the recipe a bit (surprise!) to reduce the saturated fat and add more protein. Many of you may be weary of fake meat products, and I’m with you; they’re often inundated with sodium and artificial flavors, and they’re expensive to boot. But I have to admit that I love Field Roast as a rare indulgence (it is indeed expensive). Made with wheat gluten, veggies, and spices, Field Roast doesn’t contain ingredients that are unrecognizable, and they pack about 25 grams of protein per serving.

Additionally, the school year starts soon, and I’m all about trying out some more quick meals… This one took about 40 minutes, with only 10 minutes active time– assembling the ingredients, chopping the onion, and stirring. A good thing to make as I’m busy grading or planning

Creamy Barley with Tomatoes & Greens

Serves 4

2 Tbl olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
kosher salt & black pepper
2 C quick-cooking barley (you can use regular pearl barley; it’ll just cook for longer)
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 C dry white wine
8 C torn mustard green leaves or spinach
1/2 C mozzarella or brie
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 C grated Parmesan

Optional: 2 Italian Field Roast sausages or other veggie Italian sausage

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the barley, tomatoes, wine, oregano, and 2 ½ cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the Field Roast, and saute in a separate pan for 2-3 minutes, until slightly browned.
Add the greens, red pepper flakes, Field Roast, and mozzarella, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the greens are tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
Divide among bowls and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Serve with a simple green salad or sauteed greens.

What are your favorite quick weeknight meals? I’d love some ideas, especially since the school year starts soon. No need to be fancy!

lv, molly


5 thoughts on “creamy barley with tomatoes & greens.

  1. I have also been struggling with culinary boredom. This always happens to me when the markets are most bountiful; so frustrating!
    This looks like a great recipe for a quick dinner that would also make good lunch leftovers, so thanks for it! I’ve thrown myself back into busy times with work and projects, so I too am looking for quick and healthy recipes to keep me cooking and eating good food. Haven’t given up and eaten Kraft Dinner, or gone out for Thai noodles.. yet!

    • Me too, actually!

      Yes, this is a very warm, comforting meal that results in lots of tasty lunch leftovers. What have you been cooking these days? Since I’m a teacher, I’m pretty much exhausted when I get home… Links to recipes would be so well appreciated. :) I too am trying to avoid that little box of kraft mac & cheese, however tempting.


      • One of my go-to fast dinners lately has been falafel. I buy a mix (I think it’s Cedar brand) where you just add water and then fry the patties.
        The mix has to sit and absorb the water for one hour, though.. in that time I do something else, then prep toppings:
        – shredded lettuce, carrot, beet, sliced tomatoes, whatever’s in the fridge
        – toasted pita (the thicker Greek kind are easier to make pockets.. I keep them in the freezer and toast to defrost)
        – sauce made of plain yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, tahini if you have it on hand. whip it up the consistency of creamy salad dressing.. I never measure, just eyeball it.

        The box says to form the falafel mix into balls/patties, but I just scoop and drop them into hot oil in a non-stick pan. Flip once. I’ve tried baking to make it healthier.. but with limited success.

        I like falafels either on a salad, or in pitas with veggies stuffed in. Not very good as leftovers though.. they get soggy!

        • Thanks for letting me know a specific brand that works! (And that dressing sounds just perfect.) I tried to make falafel before and never posted about it because it was an epic fail. Looking back on it, I probably should’ve posted the results since they were hilariously scary-looking.

  2. Pingback: veggie thanksgiving! « joie de vivre!

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