Barley with Carrots & Scallions

Barley with Carrots, Scallions, and Romano Cheese.

I love this recipe for 2 reasons:  (1) It’s delicious, and (2) It justifies my cookbook addiction.

If I didn’t have New York Times food writer Melissa Clark’s new cookbook, it never ever would have occurred to me to cook barley as a side dish.

I love barley but always think of it as an ingredient in soups. Why not give barley a chance to shine on its own?

With the addition of a few simple ingredients that you probably always have in your kitchen, shine it does!

Here’s what you need:

Barley, Carrots, Scallions, Olive Oil, Pecorino Romano Cheese (or Parmesan), Salt & Pepper.

Click here for a Barley with Carrots & Scallions Shopping List

Barley is  a high fiber, high protein grain that comes in a couple of varieties:  with a husk, pearled barley (shown here), and quick cooking barley. Pearled barley, the most common variety is found in my store near the bags of dried beans. It does take 50-60 minutes to cook but is much cheaper than the quick cooking variety. My best guess is that if you are pressed for time, quick cooking barley is better than no barley at all.

A quick search on google also tells me that 98% of barley grown in the US is either used for animal feed or for making beer.

We are the 2% of barley eaters!

For this recipe we will cook the barley pasta style….no need to measure the water since we will drain it when it is done. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt, add 1 cup of barley, reduce the heat and simmer 45-60 minutes until almost tender.

While the barley cooks, grate 3-4 medium carrots and thinly slice 2 scallions.

I trim off the root and use all of the parts of the scallion.

When the barley is almost tender (after about 45-50 minutes) add the grated carrots to the pot.

Cook the carrots in with the barley for an additional 5 – 10 minutes or until the grains are completely tender.

Drain the carrots and barley in a fine mesh strainer and transfer them to a large bowl. Add 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.

Add the chopped scallions and 1/2 cup grated romano or parmesan cheese. Season with salt and lots of freshly ground pepper and stir to combine all of the ingredients.

Serve warm as a side dish – an incredibly tasty and creative change of pace from rice, couscous, or potatoes.

I think this barley is so good that it can totally stand on its own as a salad or even as a light summer meal with a few grilled shrimp.

Delicious with Monday’s recipe for Pork Chops Braised with Arugula.

Here’s the recipe: Adapted from Cook This Now

Barley with Carrots & Scallions

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10 Responses

  1. OK, just whipped some up indeed 🙂 This is what I did: cheese substitute as you know, but read that barley can be cooked like rice: one cup to 2 of water. I knew I would be simmering longer plus adding carrot etc, so I did not plan to drain, just boiled 2.25 cups water and the dish is perfect. Used 2 carrots and some fresh ginger minced and minced garlic instead of just carrot, and I don’t have any scallions, so I tossed the finished stuff with fresh basil and oregano leaves and some chopped tomato, and also a few slices of diced seitan, so it has become this rather awesome dish, based on yours 🙂 I have never cooked with barley before, thanks!

    1. Gary, that sounds great! The best thing about recipes like this is that you can adapt them for whatever you have in the kitchen or garden (if you’re lucky), and whatever sounds good to you. I’m making some tonight with spinach. Barley is the new quinoa!

  2. I’ve never cooked with barley before either…I always figured I got enough of it in beer back in the 90’s!
    It looks great though…surely I would love this!

  3. I’m one of those people who like barley, even if the rest of my family isn’t crazy about it, and this dish looks really good. I’m not opposed to having a beer while I make & eat it — surely they go together! 😉

    Did Gary make that bowl?

    1. My pottery addiction actually predates my friendship with Gary. That bowl was made by someone in Kansas City (my hometown). I bought it (and 2 smaller ones that nest down inside…I have a SERIOUS mixing bowl/nesting bowl problem just ask my friend Wes who is also my chief enabler) at the Westport art fair ages ago.

  4. Hi…I found you via Gary. I’ve never cooked with barley. It may be nice as a rice variation for stuff I cook in the winter. I made your Oatmeal Heath Bar Cookies, but I used my own pecan brittle in place of the Heath Bar…..made half with dark chocolate chips and half with white chocolate. I think they lasted about an hour!

    1. Thanks for visiting. Any friend of Gary’s is most certainly always welcome! I had to take a moment to swoon over the idea of homemade pecan brittle. Sounds amazing!

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