Barley with White Beans and Broccoli

This was inspired by a recipe in one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, Super Natural Cooking. I modified it it based on what I had on hand, and the fact that asparagus cost about four times as much as broccoli (and the broccoli didn’t come all the way from Peru!)

I’ve been on a mission to cook with more whole grains lately, so this recipe worked perfectly for that. I’ve also recently discovered how easy it is to cook dried beans in the slow cooker (and you don’t even need to soak them!) so I’ve been cranking through legumes lately. It always makes me so happy to get to the checkout at the store and realize my cart is mostly bulk foods (grains and beans) and vegetables. I’ve definitely cut way back on my white flour consumption without even really trying! Not buying sandwich bread makes it a LOT easier to stay away from white flour. Instead, I just eat leftovers of things like this for lunch, which is not only healthier, but much more satisfying than PB&J on white.

With all this talk of eating more whole grains, I decided it would be helpful to add a whole grains category so all the recipes containing barley, millet, and other grains would be easy to find. So just click on “whole grains” below if you need some more ideas!

2 cups pearl barley
5 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
12 green onions, coarsley chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (drained)
sea salt
1 head broccoli, roughly chopped
zest of 1 lemon, grated
1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish
thinly sliced green onion, for garnish

Bring the water to a boil in a large sauce pan. Add the barley and a pinch of salt, return to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the barley is tender.
While the barley is cooking, saute the green onions in a medium skillet for about 5 minutes, or until soft.
Puree the green onions with an immersion blender or in a mini food processor, then return to the skillet, add the white beans, and heat through. Set aside.
When the barley is tender, stir in the broccoli and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in the walnuts, lemon zest, and white beans with green onion sauce. Stir and add sea salt to taste.
There may be a little liquid remaining in the cooking pot. If so, serve with a slotted spoon, then garnish with parmesan and green onion.

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