I really didn't want to cook last night. There were definitely not going to be any long, involved meals (I will save the risotto recipe for another night, thankyouverymuch) and I was this close to just ordering pizza. Luckily, I had stumbled on a chickpea and barley dish in the most recent edition of Everyday Food and it just seemed so simple and I had all the ingredients so I ended up making dinner. I'm definitely glad I did because this chickpea & barley dish, an easy pork tenderloin recipe (recipe coming!) and a side salad ended up being a fairly simple but impressive meal.
Even though I just talked about how much I wanted an easy meal, I actually complicated the recipe by sauteeing garlic and onion and warming the side dish in a skillet (I just love sauteed garlic and onion in a dish like this). But if you want to really simplify things, omit the garlic and onion and just throw everything together in a bowl. I have a feeling I'll be using that shortcut in the future instead of just heading out the door to Domino's.
I think this is a great dish health-wise but I also loved the flavors. While you can use any fresh herbs you have on hand, I wouldn't omit them because they add so much to this recipe. The chewy barley, tangy feta and lemon-olive oil vinaigrette were also great together.
This was a wonderful side dish but I also think this would make a great simple lunch with some vegetables added in or with a salad on the side.
Chickpea & Barley Side Dish
Adapted from: Everyday Food Magazine
- 1 1/2 cups chickpeas or 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup dried barley (feel free to substitute couscous or bulgur instead)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 - 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 + 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- fresh herbs: Everyday Food suggested 1/4 cup fresh dill but I used about 2 tablespoons of chopped mint instead
- salt and pepper
- Cook barley/couscous/bulgur according to directions (I used 1 cup barley and 2 cups chicken broth [or water] in a rice cooker).
- Heat a skillet to medium. Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, then saute garlic and onion, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add the rinsed and drained chickpeas to the skillet and toss to coat. Add cooked barley, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, fresh herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
- Reduce heat to low and keep, stirring occasionally until ready to eat (this could also be served cold). Add feta before serving.