I think I’ve mentioned our family’s love of barley before. We all enjoy the texture and the taste of barley. It’s a great substitute for our usual pasta or rice side dishes. Even our son, who doesn’t eat rice because of the texture, will gladly eat through a helping or two of barley.
Aside from the fact that we all really like it, I love serving it to my family because of its health benefits, which are many. Barley lowers cholesterol and fights diabetes. Plus, it’s low in calories and high in fiber. (You can read even more of the health benefits of barley here.)
For some reason, I find barley and fruit make a particularly pleasing combination for a side dish, like with my Toasted Barley with Apples & Raisins. I also really like the flavor when I toast the barley. It adds a bit more nuttiness to the overall dish.
Almond Apricot Barley Pilaf
- 1/4 c. slivered almonds
- 1 1/2 c. barley
- 1 c. chicken stock
- 1/2 c. water
- 1/4 c. dried apricots, diced
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. pepper
- 1/4 t. allspice
- Butter, for serving, optional
1. Add slivered almonds to a large skillet. Toast over medium heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove almonds from skillet and set aside.
2. Add the barley to the skillet and toast over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add water, chicken stock and diced, dried apricots to the skillet. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 25 minutes.
3. Stir in reserved almonds and seasonings until combined. If desired, add a pat or two of butter before serving.
This also tastes great the next day as a cold salad for lunch.