This meal was not originally intended for a blog post. I was supposed to make this slow-cooker Barley and Chickpea Risotto, but I didn’t manage my time well and didn’t leave enough time for a crockpot recipe to cook. Fail. Well, maybe not a fail after all, because my pull-it-together dinner turned out SO GOOD. Like, really good. This cauliflower and barley risotto takes about 45 minutes to cook, but as long as you are able to run to the stove and stir every so often, it doesn’t take up a lot of actual, hands on time. And it’s a one pot meal which is always a plus!
I had some extra cheese on hand from another recipe, but if you don’t add cheese, it’s totally vegan. Honestly, I only added about a 1/4 cup of grated cheese to the whole thing, so I’m confident that it did not provide the entire delicious factor. This would have been great without the cheese, and that’s how I’ll probably make it next time since cheese is not something we have lying around the kitchen very often.
Ingredients // serves 4
1 medium head cauliflower
1/2 yellow onion
3 garlic cloves
2 medium carrots
5 cups low sodium vegetable stock
1 cup finely chopped kale
1 cup barley (I used the 10 minute barley from Trader Joe’s)
2 tsp dried thyme or 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
salt + pepper
pine nuts for garnish (optional)
1/4 cup shredded hard cheese (optional)
Dice the onion and carrots and cut up the cauliflower into tiny pieces. I just did a rough chop through all the florets. Saute the onion, carrot and cauliflower in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until they start to soften. Add the minced garlic, stir and cook for a couple more minutes.
Add the barley, thyme, kale and one cup of stock and stir everything together. Simmer over medium/high heat at a rapid simmer, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid is mostly absorbed. Add the rest of the stock a cup at a time, stir and cook off until the last cup of stock remains. Add the last cup of stock, reduce the heat to very low, put the lid on your pot and let it cook undisturbed for 15 minutes.
When it is done, remove the thyme stems (if you are using fresh thyme), stir in the cheese if you are using it and season with salt and pepper. I used 2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper. I like a lot of seasoning, though, so add salt according to your own taste preference.
Sprinkle your plate with pine nuts, and enjoy!
Value food and cheer and song
In honor of Sara Bareilles’ Album of the Year Grammy nomination, here is one of my favorite songs of hers that doesn’t get any recognition, anywhere. I think the lyrics are so clever. Congratulations to you, Sara!
Artist // Sara Bareilles
Song // Fairytale