I have never had or made barley before in my life. I just took some from the bff after she said that she bought them before she went gluten free and is not going to be using them.
I did not realize before this point all of the health benefits that came with eating barley – it can help lower your blood pressure, help build and maintain bone structure and strength, decreasing the risk of heart diseases, helps detoxify some cancer-causing components in the body, can reduce inflammation, help with digestion and weight loss (whew!).
My main concern right now is getting enough protein and iron; just half a cup of barley has 7g of protein, 15% of your iron, and 15g of fiber. I mixed it in with some mushroom slices and some dried chili red beans (that I also stole from the bff), and was surprised to see that it had 20g of protein per half cup!! I don’t know if this is because they were dried beans since most of the canned ones I get are about 7-8g per cup or if it’s just this type of bean that has that much protein in it.
Anyway, this ended up being delicious! And I will have to incorporate some barley into future recipes! Maybe a hearty soup this weekend when it’s going to be -30000 degrees here 😦
Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli with Barley and Red Beans
1/2 cup of barley
1 cup of red beans (canned or soaked over night)
about 8 medium sized cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 large sweet potatoes, diced
2 broccoli, chopped into bite sized pieces
Cook barley according to package instructions. I used vegetable broth instead of plain water with half of the minced garlic and salt.
Cook the beans in water (I just used enough to cover the beans). When it boils, add salt to taste.
While that is cooking, heat your pan with some oil and toss in the minced garlic. Let it cook until fragrant and add the sweet potatoes. Add about a quarter cup of water. Let cook for about 10 minutes and then add the broccoli. Cover and let cook until ready.
When the barley is about done, mix beans and mushrooms into the barley. Mix until cooked.
Spoon barley and red bean onto a plate and top with sweet potatoes and broccoli. Add a spritz of lime juice if you want and salt and pepper to taste.