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Barley Bowl with Spiced Aubergine, Chickpeas and Tomatoes

Barley Bowl

Roasted aubergines, chickpeas and tomatoes flavoured with Middle Eastern spices and dressed with flaxseed oil and lemon juice. All served on a bed of cooked barley. Why not ring the changes and try this vegan barley bowl?

Barley is a much underrated grain. It grows well in the UK, it’s easy to cook, has a nice nutty flavour and is highly nutritious. Traditionally, it’s used in soups, but I’ve been using it more and more these days as the main grain in our meals. This dish is a simple meal of whole grain barley topped with a combination of spiced aubergine, chickpeas and tomatoes.

Barley Bowl with Spiced Aubergine, Chickpeas & Tomatoes

I was wondering what to do with the aubergine I received in my Spanish fruit and veg box. My first thought was to make the aubergine dip that turned me into being a bit iffy about aubergines to actually liking them. Then I spotted a Mary Berry recipe for Middle Eastern aubergine and chickpea salad and decided I could adapt it to make something similar. Only mine was to be a main meal and a warm dish rather than a cold one.

It all panned out very nicely and I enjoyed the aubergine part just as much as the rest. The different flavours and textures worked really well with the barley. CT said it was so good, he thought we should have it again and soon. Served warm rather than hot and with seasonal ingredients, this barley bowl would make a lovely summer meal, ideal for alfresco dining.

Other Recipes Using Barley You Might Like

Show Me Your Barley Bowl

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Barley Bowl. PIN IT.

Barley Bowl with spiced roasted aubergines, tomatoes and chickpeas.

Barley Bowl – The Recipe

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5 from 1 vote

Barley Bowl with Spiced Aubergines, Chickpeas and Tomatoes

Roasted aubergines, chickpeas and tomatoes flavoured with Middle Eastern spices and dressed with flaxseed oil and lemon juice. All served on a bed of cooked barley.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: main
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: aubergine, barley, bowl food, chickpeas, vegan, za'atar
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 551kcal
Author: Choclette


  • 1 large aubergine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tsp za'atar
  • 4 tomatoes - quartered
  • 1 tin of chickpeas - drained and rinsed
  • 100 g whole grain barley or grain of choice to serve


  • 2 tbsp flaxseed oil or cold-pressed olive oil
  • ½ tsp tamari or soy sauce of choice
  • ½ organic lemon - juice and zest
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 12 chive leaves - finely snipped


  • Rinse the pearl barley well and cover with water to about twice the depth of the barley. Bring to the boil in a well sealed pan and simmer for about 25 minutes or until tender and the water has been absorbed.
  • Meanwhile, cut the aubergine into chunky chip sized pieces.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large baking tray in a hot oven, 200℃ (400℉, Gas 6). Throw in the aubergine chips and toss to coat in the oil. Sprinkle on 2 tsp of the Za'atar and toss again. Return to the oven and roast for about 20 minutes until they're just tender.
  • Push the aubergine pieces to one side and add the tomatoes. Sprinkle on the remaining tsp of za'aatar and roast for a further 5 minutes.
  • Push the tomatoes to one side and add the chickpeas. Swirl around on the hot tray to coat in any juices and roast for another minute to warm the chickpeas up.
  • Place all of the dressing ingredients into a large bowl and whisk.
  • Add the chickpeas and stir so they absorb some of the dressing.
  • Divide the barley between two bowls. Add the aubergines and tomatoes, then spoon on the chickpeas with any remaining dressing.


Adapted from Foolproof Cooking by Mary Berry


Calories: 551kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 109mg | Potassium: 1388mg | Fiber: 20g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 2420IU | Vitamin C: 58mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 5mg


I’m sending this barley bowl off to Jac at Tinned Tomatoes for Meat Free Mondays.


  1. Nicky

    20th April 2016 at 1:25 pm

    I’ve never thought about using barley as a main starch for a meal. Fab idea, I might even try barley risotto too. Thanks for opening my eyes!

    • Choclette

      23rd April 2016 at 11:03 am

      My pleasure Nicky. I’m quite keen to try barley risotto too.

  2. kate @veggie desserts

    20th April 2016 at 3:40 pm

    This looks great! I love barley and it must be so nice in this with the za’atar and aubergines.

    • Choclette

      23rd April 2016 at 11:04 am

      It’s delicious Kate and I’m really pleased to find barley has not been forgotten as much as I thought it had.

  3. Sarah, Maison Cupcake

    20th April 2016 at 5:02 pm

    This is totally kind of thing I’d eat for dinner. I have been eating lots of brown rice recently but some barley would make a change!

    • Choclette

      23rd April 2016 at 11:05 am

      Brown rice has been my staple from childhood, so it was very exciting when I was introduced to quinoa about 20 years ago. Why I haven’t used barley until recently, I don’t really know.

  4. Kate - gluten free alchemist

    20th April 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Sadly we can’t eat barley….. Shame…. I used to love it. But the Aubergine, chickpeas and tomatoes sound lovely with the rice….. guess the barley can be missed for us?!

    • Choclette

      23rd April 2016 at 11:09 am

      Sadly, there’s not much you can do about barley Kate, but thank goodness for rice and quinoa.

  5. Vohn McGuinness

    20th April 2016 at 9:51 pm

    I adore barley – it is my go-to grain and and this sounds lovely Choclette.

    • Choclette

      23rd April 2016 at 11:10 am

      Hello Vohn, it’s lovely to hear from you. And good to hear barley is such an appreciated grain in your home.

  6. Kyra

    21st April 2016 at 6:41 am

    I agree that barley is underrated, in fact I haven’t used it myself lately…you’ve inspired me to add barley to my shopping list to cook with next week! This dish sounds sooo good <3

    • Choclette

      23rd April 2016 at 11:12 am

      Oh thank you Kyra. If I’ve inspired anyone to do anything, it does make my day rosier. Hope you like it.

  7. Kate | The Veg Space

    21st April 2016 at 9:57 am

    This is my kind of food Choclette – so tasty and nourishing. Love it! Thanks for linking to my tomatoes too.

    • Choclette

      23rd April 2016 at 11:14 am

      You’re welcome Kate and thank you. This will certainly be appearing on our table again.

  8. Chris @thinlyspread

    21st April 2016 at 2:14 pm

    I haven’t cooked with barley for ages, you’ve inspired me! I’m so glad you have discovered the loveliness of the aubergine!

    • Choclette

      23rd April 2016 at 11:16 am

      Yes, it’s taken a long time with the aubergine, but I got there in the end. Barley is lovely too.

  9. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    21st April 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Haven’t had barley in a long while..I love this combination with eggplants and chickpeas.

    • Choclette

      23rd April 2016 at 11:18 am

      Thanks Angie, it’s a good combination.

  10. Natalie Tamara

    22nd April 2016 at 9:17 am

    I love the look of this! Barley makes such a good alternative to rice or quinoa, for a change. I’ve actually had a bag sat in my cupboard for a while and should dig it out this weekend to give this a go!

    • Choclette

      23rd April 2016 at 11:29 am

      Oh, let me know if you do make it Natalie. It’s always good to ring the changes and barley really is very good.

  11. Laura @ KneadWhine

    24th April 2016 at 8:41 pm

    I’ve bought some pearl barley after a really nice salad I had at a National Trust cafe recently – but haven’t quite managed to do anything with it. This looks like a great way to make use of it – I love aubergine!

    • Choclette

      25th April 2016 at 8:04 am

      Ah a barley salad? Nice idea, I will have to try one now.

  12. Margaret Gallagher

    24th April 2016 at 9:22 pm

    Wow this looks so yummy and wholesome and nutritious usually make soups with my barley but going to give this a go thanks

    • Choclette

      25th April 2016 at 7:56 am

      Thanks Margaret. Do let me know what you think. It’s a nice combination and we really enjoyed it and I will be making it again for sure.

  13. Cathy @ Planet Veggie

    29th April 2016 at 2:40 pm

    I haven’t made anything with barley for years – keep forgetting it exists, so thanks for the reminder!

    • Choclette

      29th April 2016 at 3:44 pm

      I find it’s just really nice to ring the changes and barley has quite a different flavour and texture to other grains.

  14. Cindy

    24th April 2017 at 8:49 am

    Yum yum yum loved this recipe – never know what to do with aubergine (except smother it with cheese sauce) and this is healthier, easier and so tasty thank you! Don’t know za-atar so used chili & bbq spice mix & soy sauce yummmmmy! Will be making this again xxx 🙂

    • Choclette

      24th April 2017 at 1:38 pm

      Thanks for letting me know Cindy and glad you enjoyed it. I’m quite liking the sound of your cheese sauce 🙂 Za-atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix of mostly thyme, sesame seeds, oregano and salt.

  15. Chloe Edges

    29th February 2020 at 5:28 pm

    Looks super delicious and anther something that I’ve never cooked before to try!

    • Choclette

      2nd March 2020 at 8:40 am

      There are so many ingredients and combinations thereof available these days that I don’t think we’ll ever run out of new things to try.


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