Sunday 28 December 2014

Recipe: Barley and cous cous bake

It's a Christmas tradition that even though we are guests for Christmas lunch, as I am the only vegetarian, I supply the vegetarian main. Gradually, this has morphed into me being responsible for all the 'picky' eaters - that is, the vegans, the vegetarians, the gluten free and those who want a healthier option. I therefore always play it safe with my contribution and make it relatively spice free and appealing to most palates and diet types.

This year, I wanted a change from my usual mushroom and sage loaf, particularly as we are still in a delicate stage with Jimmy's feeding, and sage tends to dry up breast milk supplies, something I really didn't want to inflict on my baby on a day when he'd want the extra comfort of nursing with all the new people around him.

I decided that I would make a spiced grain bake, flavoured with spices and some lemon juice to keep it fresh as it was a hot Christmas this year. It turned out quite tasty, although not as 'sliceable' as my loaf option, so there were no perfectly cut portions, more of a delicious heaped serving upon plates.

Barley and cous cous bake
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  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 cup pearl (israeli) cous cous
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 tin green lentils
  • 1 tbsp ginger, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp garlic, chopped finely
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp tumeric
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 small carrots, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil


  1. Preheat oven to 180C and line your baking dish with baking paper
  2. Cook the barley and cous cous in boiling water. Just before the water is completely absorbed, remove from the heat and leave it to sit, covered, for an extra 15 minutes
  3. While the grains are sitting, saute the onion in the coconut oil until softened
  4. Place all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste
  5. Transfer the mix into your prepared baking dish and press down firmly
  6. Bake for 45 minutes and allow to sit an additional 15 minutes before serving

  • You could easily use other grains if you prefer. Quinoa would be nice and give it a slightly nuttier flavour. I think brown rice would also be delicious
  • Feel free to switch up the spices and even add herbs for a different taste. I played it safe and omitted chilli, but if it was just for me, I would have added it in
  • This was super easy to prepare. In fact, I made it the night before I needed it, then just removed it from the fridge, allowed it to come to room temperature and then baked it on the day I needed it. I think this really helped the flavours to infuse throughout too
How was your Christmas? What was on the menu and are you still eating the leftovers?

1 comment:

  1. I had to laugh at your comment on being responsible for the 'picky' eaters. I'd certainly be delighted to get to try some of this, and bet plenty of non-picky people would be too!

    I hope you had a great day and Christmas week more generally :)



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