Saturday, October 25, 2008

Vegan MOFO Day 25 - Featuring Barley!

Today's featured ingredient is barley. This is another one of those nutritionally packed grains that seems to get overlooked. It's nutty flavor and its chewy texture make it a great addition to lots of dishes.

Barley is very high in fiber and selenium. There have been some rather extensive studies on barley's ability to protect against atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, post menopausal breast cancer, and colon cancer. It can also aid in lowering cholesterol, which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease. That pretty flipping amazing for such a tiny little grain. I'm feeling the love! To lean more about barley check out this site.

Now that we all know how very good it is for us, let's chat about how good it barley is as an ingredient in many dishes. One of my favorite uses for barley is in the making of beer. It's not the healthiest use of this grain, but it sure is one of the more fun uses! But seriously, I absolutely adore barley in soups. Below is a delicious Mushroom Barley Soup. It is so filling, warm, and delicious. I love barley soups on a cold winter day.

Barley like other grains is very versatile. It can be served hot as a side dish. I need to dig through my archives and find one of my favorite side dishes - Creamy Tomato Barley Risotto. I'm just teasing you with that as I can't show you a picture and I don't know where the recipe is hiding. I've also made a wonderful side dish with barley, walnuts, broccoli, and green onions. Talk about a nutritional jackpot!

Barley is wonderful in cold salads. It's crunchy-chewy texture lends itself so well to a light salad. They are great to take to potlucks, picnics, and packed lunches. The version pictured below is has avocados as a fine addition.

3 comments:

Jeni Treehugger said...

Oooh I LOVE Barley - a handful in Soup does magical things!

Monique a.k.a. Mo said...

That looks so good!

Liz (EFCliz) said...

If you don't find that recipe soon I will die... (and for the soup...)