Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Chickpea & Barley Side Dish

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
Serves 4-6
  • 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
If you want to simplify things, omit the garlic and onion and the sauteeing step.  Instead, just throw everything together in a bowl.
  1. Cook barley/couscous/bulgur according to directions (I used 1 cup barley and 2 cups chicken broth [or water] in a rice cooker).
  2. Heat a skillet to medium.  Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, then saute garlic and onion, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. Reduce heat to low and keep, stirring occasionally until ready to eat (this could also be served cold).  Add feta before serving.


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