Category: Lunch

Pesto Barley with Scallions & Cannellini Beans

Pesto Barley with Scallions & Cannellini
My husband likes to joke that if wasn’t for me he would eat spaghetti every night for dinner. Now one of our three-year-old’s favorite meals is pasta, “Daddy style,” which is spaghetti with olive oil, garlic powder and plenty of Parmesan. Absolutely no black pepper or red pepper flakes like Dad usually adds to his version of his signature dish.

I don’t always want to join them on the pasta train, but that doesn’t mean I have the motivation to make something else. My solution is to stir pesto into a can of beans. To make this a blog-worthy recipe, I added whole grains and greens to my pesto barley with scallions & cannellini beans. It was simple and great for lunchtime leftovers the next day.
Pesto Barley with Scallions & Cannellini

Pesto Barley with Scallions & Cannellini Beans

Serves 4

1/2 cup pearl barley
1 cup water
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup walnuts plus more for garnish
1/2 ounce Parmesan, grated, plus more shaved for serving
1-1/2 cups basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup basil pesto
1-15 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 handful baby arugula
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced chives
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

In a medium saucepan, combine the barley and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until tender. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.

For the pesto, mince the garlic cloves in the bowl of a food processor. Add 1/4 cup walnuts, Parmesan, basil, salt and pepper. Puree the mixture. While the motor is running, drizzle the olive oil through the feeder tube until the pesto is fully combined.

Add the beans, arugula, scallions, chives and remaining walnuts to the barley. Stir in about 1/4-1/3 cup pesto. Top with Parmesan before serving.

Save the extra pesto for another use.

Zucchini Squash Pea Orzo

Zucchini Squash Pea Orzo
Things at the farmers market got serious on Saturday. I was at one of my favorite stands when I spotted containers of shelled fresh peas. The farmer gave very explicit instructions to consume the peas in 2 days or freeze them. I hadn’t planned on leaving with peas, but I was up for the challenge and bought a box.

Summer pasta had been on my mind when I found some orzo hiding in the back of a cupboard. Before cooking the pasta with the peas, I roasted zucchini and squash. I spooned in pesto for a flavor boost and then finished off this zucchini squash pea orzo with chives and salty crumbled ricotta salata.
Zucchini Squash Pea Orzo
Zucchini Squash Pea Orzo

Serves 4

1 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium summer squash, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for serving
1/4 teaspoon black pepper plus more for serving
1/2 cup orzo
3/4 cup fresh peas
2 tablespoons basil pesto
2 tablespoons minced chives
1/4 cup crumbled ricotta salata

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the zucchini and squash on a parchment-line sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned at the edges.

Cook the orzo in boiling salted water according to package instructions. Add the peas in the last minute of cooking. Drain and transfer the orzo and peas to a large bowl. Stir in the pesto followed by the zucchini, squash, chives and ricotta salata. Season with salt and pepper.

Tomato Corn Barley

Tomato Corn Barley
Second to produce, the bulk section is my favorite department at the grocery. I never buy things in massive quantities. It’s actually the total opposite. I love that I can get smaller amounts, so I can shop per recipe instead of wasting valuable cabinet real estate with overstocked shelves. Then I am buying pantry ingredients on a more regular basis, so I know they are fresh.

A few months ago, I was getting pearl barley from the bulk dispenser, and it whooshed out so fast that before I knew it, I had way too much! Thank goodness I love this grain. I am still trying to eat my way through what I accidentally bought. Over the weekend I made tomato corn barley with chive vinaigrette, scallions and feta. It was a spontaneous mix of summer leftovers that I had around.
Tomato Corn Barley
Tomato Corn Barley
Serves 4

1/2 cup peal barley
1-1/4 cups water
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
1 cup cooked corn kernels (I used grilled corn.)
2 scallions thinly sliced
1/4 cup crumbled feta

In a medium saucepan, combine the barley and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until tender. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Arrange the cherry tomatoes, cut side up, on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes until plump and juicy.

For the vinaigrette, whisk together the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and chives.

Combine the tomatoes and corn with the barley. Stir in the vinaigrette, scallions and feta. Serve at room temperature.

Roasted Vegetable Naan Flatbread

Roasted Vegetable Naan Flatbread
My oven hasn’t been getting as much use now that it’s officially spring and unofficially summer. I’ve taken food prep to our back deck where I’ve been grilling all sorts of stuff from chicken to burgers to pizza. If I can put grill marks on it, I’m throwing it is straight on the grates. Another bonus is that cleanup is a breeze, and there aren’t any lingering dinner smells inside.

And just like that, my new routine came to a sudden halt last week thanks to back-to-back rainy days that seemed like they would never end. It was time to switch on the oven. I thinly sliced bell peppers, zucchini & squash and arranged them on a couple sheet pans. Once they were browned a bit at the edges, I made a roasted vegetable naan flatbread with hummus, arugula & feta.
Roasted Vegetable Naan Flatbread
Roasted Vegetable Naan Flatbread

Makes 2

1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1 medium summer squash, thinly sliced
1 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced and deseeded
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced and deseeded
1 tablespoon olive oil plus more for naan
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 naan breads
1/2 cup hummus
1 handful arugula
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss the zucchini, squash and peppers with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the vegetables on 2 parchment-lined sheet pans and roast for 15-20 minutes until slightly browned at the edges.

Brush the naan with olive oil and warm for 2 minutes in the oven.

Spread the hummus on the naan. Arrange the roasted vegetables on top followed by the arugula and feta.

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