Thursday, January 28, 2010

Barley Pilaf with Chickpeas and Aritchoke Hearts

You have two options for making this dish, depending how fast you want it to come together! The original recipe called for quick-cooking barley, which is pre-steamed and thus cooks in about 15 minutes. I already had pearled barley at home, however, and figured it didn't make sense to buy a whole package of the quick-cooking variety. Instead, I adjusted the cook time for the dish and prepared it the long way around.

If you use quick-cooking barley, combine 2 cups warm water (which will make cooking even faster!) with 1 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley and 1/4 tsp. salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes.

For pearled barley, bring about 2 and 1/4 cups water to a boil. Add 3/4 cups uncooked pearled barley and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 1 hour.

In both cases, the barley should be tender by the end and the liquid absorbed. From here, stir in 2 tablespoons commercial pesto and 1 (15-ounce) rinsed and drained can of chickpeas. Let cook an additional minute until thoroughly heated, then stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon minced garlic (you can even use bottled minced garlic if you like, to save more time!) and 1 (14-ounce) can of rinsed and drained quartered artichoke hearts; saute for 3 minutes. Although every brand of canned artichokes I've ever come across is vegan, I like supporting Native Forest because their product is certified vegan:

Serve 1 cup of barley mixture topped with 1/4 cup artichoke mixture in each of 4 bowls. Sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons shredded vegan cheese in place of Parmesan (such as the vegan mozzarella from Galaxy Foods). Each serving is 380 calories.

A note on commercial pesto: it is possible to find varieties that don't include cheese, but it can be difficult and require trips to several stores - I tend to find artisan varieties of canned pesto from small specialty food stores are the ones that don't contain cheese, whereas those sold in big supermarkets do. This time around, I decided to skip the quandary altogether upon discovery of a crushed-basil paste, sold in a tube, from Marvini. Essentially just crushed basil, oil, and lemon juice, it differs from pesto in that there are no nuts, but I liked that I didn't have to parse Italian-language food labels for cheese ingredients, and the convenience of the tube. So if you can find some in your grocery store, I recommend it!

basil paste $4.99
canned chickpeas $1.99
olive oil $10.99
canned quartered artichoke hearts $3.39
vegan cheese

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance