Organic Bound

A Super Grain + Greens Side Dish

April 2014

This recipe may be called a side dish, but barley enthusiasts (like Earthbound co-founder Myra Goodman and her two children) will happily eat it by the bowlful! No wonder it made its way into Myra’s new cookbook, Straight from the Earth.

Pearled barley, high in fiber and a good source of protein, offers a great change of pace from brown rice, and it cooks in the same amount of time. A dish like this is a great reason to prepare a double batch; using leftover cooked barley allows it to come together very quickly.

But the real surprise here is the olives: their briny bite perfectly complements the sweet, chewy barley and the earthy flavor of baby spinach. This could just become a new grain + greens staple on your family’s table.

Barley with Spinach and Green Olives

Prep Time: 10m | Cook Time: 1h 5m (including cooking the barley) | Serves 6 as a side dish

Served with a soup and salad, this dish makes a delightful and complete meal. From Straight from the Earth: Irresistible Vegan Recipes for Everyone by Myra Goodman & Marea Goodman.

1 cup pearled barley, rinsed
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, cut into medium dice
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
5 ounces Earthbound Farm Organic Baby Spinach
1/2 cup chopped green salad olives (without pimentos)
Freshly ground black pepper  

Place the barley, 2-1/2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Cook on high heat, covered, until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low to maintain a simmer, and cook, covered, until the barley is chewy but tender and all the water is absorbed, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, fluff the barley with a fork, and let sit, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it’s soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and oregano, and cook for 2 minutes.

Stir the barley into the onion mixture and add the remaining oil, stirring to combine. Heat slowly over medium heat and, when the barley is hot, add the spinach in handfuls, stirring continually. When all the spinach has been added, stir in the olives. Cook until the spinach is just wilted and the olives are warm, 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

Per serving: Calories 160, Fat 12 grams, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 430 mg, Carbohydrates 13 grams, Fiber 2 grams, Sugars 2 grams, Protein 2 grams.

Percentage Daily Values per serving (based on a 2,000-calorie diet): Vitamin A 45%, Vitamin C 15%, Calcium 4%, Iron 6%. 

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