Barley Bowl with Spiced Aubergine, Chickpeas and Tomatoes
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 vegan barley bowl is a simple meal of whole grain barley topped with a combination of spiced aubergine, chickpeas and 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, but as 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 eating in the garden.
- 1 large aubergine
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tsp za'atar
- 4 to matoes 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℃. 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