Barley.  Those weird little grains most famously known for their presence in things like Beef Barley soup but then never seem to appear much in other recipes.  A few years ago I tried to cook a new 'unknown' grain every week and barley seemed to come up a lot in recipes.  Like a lot of grains barley is high fiber and high protein and packs in a lot of nutrients in it's small size.  Pearl barley is a commonly sold form and it actually cooks faster than most rice.

Cooked, Barley has a chewy and almost nutty flavor which works really well with the flavors in today's recipe.

Ingredients:

1 Cup Pearl Barley

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

Olive Oil

2 large shallots, finely chopped

2 cloves of minced garlic

1 TBS White Wine Vinegar

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 TBS Lemon Zest

1/4 cup chopped almonds or walnuts

Preheat the oven to 425.   Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add barley.  Let simmer on med-low heat for about 10 minutes or until barley is chewy yet soft.  Let Stand.

Toss cut green beans with chopped nuts and about 2 TBSP Olive Oil.  Season with salt and pepper and bake for about 10 minutes until green beans are crisp-tender.

Heat 1 TBSP Oil in skillet and saute onions and garlic until translucent.  Add White Wine Vinegar and black beans and saute for about 1-2 more minutes.  Add this to the cooked barley, and toss with lemon zest and parsley.  Top with nut/green bean mixture.

This is a nice dinner side or light summer meal.  Great as leftovers for tomorrow's lunch!


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