This simple dinner ticks all the boxes: delicious, wholesome, and satisfying. Plus, it’s vegetarian. Sweet squash combines with crunchy-earthy barley, kale, and peas to make a delicious meal for a weekday evening. Serve with brown basmati rice on the side, if desired.
1/2 cup (125 mL) hulled, pot, or pearl barley, washed and rinsed, or short grain brown rice
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed
2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 small bunch curly leaf kale, stems removed, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
1 – 19 oz (540 mL) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 Tbsp (30 mL) gluten-free low-sodium tamari
2 Tbsp (30 ml) orange juice
1 Tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
Pinch crushed red peppers
1/4 cup (60 mL) toasted pumpkin seeds
In small saucepan, bring barley and 1 1/4 cups (310 mL) water to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook barley covered, until tender but still chewy and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes. If kernels taste starchy and hard in centre, simmer for another 10 minutes. Add extra splash of boiling water, if necessary. When done, let rest for 5 minutes. Stir with fork to separate kernels. (Barley can be made ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.)
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Dice squash into small 1/2 in (1.25 cm) cubes. You should have about 2 cups (500 mL). Refrigerate remaining squash for other use. Place diced squash in bowl and lightly coat with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil. Spread on parchment-lined baking sheet in single layer. Lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in centre of preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until tender but slightly firm when tested with fork.
Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in large, heavy saucepan. Add onion, and sauté over medium-low heat, stirring often, until softened. Fold in kale, chickpeas, and cooked barley, and gently stir-fry over medium heat to wilt kale slightly and warm chickpeas. Gently fold in baked squash and heat through. Remove from heat. Combine tamari, juices, and crushed peppers. Whisk to combine and drizzle over vegetables. Fold in to coat evenly.
Serve immediately with sprinkling of toasted pumpkin seeds.
Each serving contains: 284 calories; 12 g protein; 11 g total fat (2 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 39 g total carbohydrates (4 g sugars, 8 g fibre); 368 mg sodium