Thursday, October 7, 2010

Weekly Lunch: Barley with Roasted Summer Vegetables

I had to make one last summer squash recipe before they're all gone! This week's lunch also features one of my favorite grains for salads, hulled barley. It has a great chewy texture and mild nutty flavor.

So bright and colorful!
Awaiting the oven
Sweet and savory
The finished product
I also thought I'd share an actual recipe for my lunch this week. Fun!

Hulled Barley with Roasted Summer Vegetables
Makes 5 hearty servings


1 1/2 cups hulled barley
Three medium summer squash, any variety (I used 2 yellow squash and 1 zucchini)
1 large or 2 small sweet bell peppers, any color
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, about 1 1/2 cups (apparently I can't go more than a week without eating chickpeas for lunch)
5 hard boiled eggs (see below)
5-10 ounces baby spinach (depending on how much you like spinach), washed and dried
Juice of one lemon
3-4 tablespoons total olive oil, divided
salt and pepper

  1. Rinse the barley with cold water (use a fine-mesh sieve so you don't lose them down the sink!)
  2. Combine 3 cups water, 1 tsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add barley and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook barley for 40-50 minutes until tender but still chewy. Drain any excess water and set aside to cool.
  3. Preheat oven to about 400F (my oven is wonky, you may need to go up to 425F)
  4. Chop the squash and pepper into 3/4-inch cubes. Toss with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, thyme and about 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet.Roast your veggies for 20-30 minutes, turning once. 
  5.  For the hard boiled eggs, place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat, then remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Drain and place eggs in a bowl of cold water.
  6. Assembly time! I layer the barley on the bottom of my plastic containers, then the chickpeas (open the can, drain and rinse), then the veggies, then one peeled and quartered hard boiled egg. Spinach can be kept separately, so it stays dry, and handfuls can be added to each container in the morning or the night before. 
  7. The dressing this week is equal parts lemon juice and olive oil with salt and pepper, about 1/4 teaspoon of each. I mix it in a small plastic container and keep it in the break room refrigerator at work, so every day I can just shake it up and pour a little on my salad right at lunchtime. 

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