Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Curried Barley with Raisins and Almonds

Earlier this month, I posted a recipe for an antioxidant-packed Strawberry-Kiwi Smoothie, but there are more ways to get your antioxidants than the Vitamin C in fruit.  In this dish, barley contains phytic acid (which may lower your risk of colon cancer), the garlic and onions give you a dose of organosulfurs (beneficial for cholesterol levels), and the almonds provide vitamin E.  If that doesn't get you excited for this dish, well, it's yummy too.

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 and 1/2 cups vertically sliced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cooked pearl barley*
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1. Heat 1/2 teaspoon of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion; cover and cook for 15 minutes, until golden brown, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Remove the onion mixture from the pan.

2. Heat the remaining teaspoon olive oil in the pan.  Add the curry powder, and cook for 1 minute.  Add the cooked barley, tossing to coat.  Stir in the onion mixture, raisins, parsley, toasted almonds, salt, and black pepper.  The dish will be best served immediately.

Pair with wilted garlicky spinach for another healthy boost to your plate. You can make the barley your entree, or serve with vegan chicken or beef.  

It's also delicious with bottled mango chutney dolloped on top, a great contrast to the curry flavor. 

*You can prepare a couple components ahead of time, to streamline dinner hour in your household.  Barley does not require soaking in advance, and cooks in roughly 25 to 30 minutes in simmering water.  Make it in the afternoon or the night before, if you prefer.  Likewise, toast the almonds ahead in a small skillet over medium heat; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan frequently to prevent burning, and set aside until ready to use.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (about 2/3 cup), Calories 157 

Tasting Notes:
The toasted curry flavor to the barley was delicious, but I would change a few things next time.  First, I'd fully caramelize the onions and add a bit of sugar for a touch of sweetness.  The plump sweet raisins were a great contrast to the curry and parsley, but I would soak them in warm water to plump up, and use closer to 1/4 cup.  The spiciness and saltiness of the dish could also be increased for bigger flavor all around.


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