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: www.edwardandsons.com/native_info.itml
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
The Vegan Pantry
- Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy http://www.wholesoyco.com/
- Vegan milk - Silk http://www.silksoymilk.com/
- Vegan Feta - Sunergia http://www.sunergiasoyfoods.com/
- Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods http://www.galaxyfoods.com/
- Vegan Eggs - Ener-G http://www.ener-g.com/
- Vegan Butter - Earth Balance http://www.earthbalance.net/product.html