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Wellness Wednesday: Bring on the Barley

Posted at 7:53 AM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 09:53:45-05

IDAHO — If you're looking to shake up your favorite recipe this holiday season, why not try adding barley?

The American Heart Association and Idaho Barley Commission are teaming up for the Bring on the Barley recipe contest, encouraging everyone to shine a light on the whole grain. If you haven't tested out barley in your kitchen yet, Idaho is the perfect place to do so as it's the number one producer of the heart-healthy crop.

"It's not on a lot of people's radars, and by teaming up with the Heart Association, it's a great way for us to raise awareness and remind people that barley is an outstanding whole grain and a great addition to their diet," explains Laura Wilder, Executive Director of the Idaho Barley Commission. "It's got a great texture and kind of a nutty flavor. It's a great substitute for a lot of dishes, like rice for example. It has more texture, flavor, and fiber."

A unique taste, texture, and mountain of health benefits aren't the only things barley has to offer; it's also easy on your wallet.

"Barley is a local crop so when you purchase barley and eat barley, you're helping support our local agriculture and food systems, and like I mentioned, it's also budget-friendly so it's an easy crop to incorporate into your lifestyle," says Molly Tevis, a registered dietitian for Albertsons.

When you're planning out your barley recipe, there are some things to keep in mind whether you're looking to pick it up online or in-stores.

"You want to make sure it's not processed. Pearled barley means that the brand, the outside which has all the fiber, has been removed so we want to make sure that's still intact so you're getting the whole grain and all those awesome nutritional benefits," says Tevis.

Bring on the Barley entries are being accepted through January 5, 2021, under three categories: holiday-themed, baked goods, and salads. To enter, email your name, address, phone number, recipe instructions, ingredient list, and final dish pictures to More rules can be found here.

Barley flakes and flour can be used in your recipe, and Tevis says barley can be swapped in place of rice, quinoa, or farro. You can find inspiration here or check out recipes provided by Tevis below.

Turkey & Barley Stew:
· 1 tsp vegetable oil
· 1 medium onion (diced)
· 1 cup carrots (cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
· 1 lb ground turkey or leftover turkey, cubed
· 1/3 cup tomato paste
· 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
· juice and zest of 1 lime
· 2 quarts reduced-sodium chicken broth
· 1 cup quick-cooking barley
· 2 cups roughly chopped spinach
· 3/4 tsp kosher salt
· 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

· 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Cooking Instructions:
Heat a 5-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil, onion, and carrot. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until onions are translucent. Add ground turkey and brown. Add tomato paste, turmeric, lime, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and add barley. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in spinach, salt, and pepper. Simmer 1-2 minutes and serve.

Kale Citrus Pilaf:
· 3 cups Signature Farms® Tuscan kale (or other curly kale rinsed, dried, and torn into large bite-sized pieces)
· 1 1/2 Tbs O Organics® extra virgin olive oil (divided use)
· 1 cup cooked barley— can be cooked in a rice cooker just like rice
· 2 mandarin oranges (peeled and separated into segments--about 1 cup)
· 3 Tbs toasted pumpkin kernels (add more if desired)
· 3 Tbs shaved Parmesan
· 1 1/2 Tbs flavored balsamic vinegar or Signature SELECT™ balsamic vinegar
· freshly-ground salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions:
Begin cooking the barley in a rice cooker (if not already prepared). Add kale to a medium bowl and drizzle 2 teaspoons of the olive oil over the top and massage the oil into the kale pieces. Heat a large non-stick skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add kale and toast it, stirring every minute for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. In a large bowl, combine toasted kale, barley, and orange segments. Drizzle remaining olive oil and the balsamic vinegar over the top and toss mixture to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Divide the mixture between two bowls or plates and sprinkle Parmesan cheese and pumpkin seeds evenly over the top of each. Enjoy!