You ever have those days were you just want to eat the earth in bowl? Where you just want something earthy, hearty, warming, full of umami and spice and nourishment that will fill you up without making you feel weighed down? Well I do. And today was one of those days.
For reasons beyond my explanation I was really craving barley this morning. I’ve been very into plain grains lately. Kamut, corn, wild rice, black rice, oats…just something comforting about a bowl of simple grains to feed the body and mind.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of eating carbs. They literally and figuratively fuel the brain and make you all sorts of happies, inside and out. The key is doing ’em right. Whole grains, vegetables, legumes and fruits are nature’s way of being like “hey everyone I love you.”
Back to barley. Couldn’t get it out of my head. And I was really craving a warm bowl of something hearty and filling. Barley fit the bill, as did the earthy creaminess of hummus. I decided to stir hummus (I used Horseradish hummus from Trader Joe’s…omg.) into barley while the barley was still slightly warm, almost to create a light hummus-sauce of sorts. The result was creamy flavorful grains in my face. In love. Adapting this idea and using it widely in the future.
I decided to add some more delicious goodness to the bowl with an all-time favorite vegetable: the humble yet glorious sweet potato. Cubed and roasted plain and simple (okay I added a little cumin for extra flair). But this would be a miraculous way to use up any root vegetable or squash in your house. The pre-cut frozen butternut squash cubes would also work wonders.
Kale made it’s way into the dish because I had about a fourth of a bag to use up. I’m normally not into cooked greens (I like ’em raw) but a gentle sauté seemed appropriate for the earth bowl. Cumin, curry powder, paprika and chili powder all lend earthy spiciness to the dish, as well. I threw some more chickpeas on top for extra filling power, adding some more texture, fiber, and protein to keep me satisfied.
I am so in love with this dish I can’t even express the words. It’s a perfect lunch or light dinner and tastes great eaten as leftovers out of the fridge later on.
I used barley, but truly any hearty whole grain would work. Quinoa or brown rice would also do the trick. Use whatever you have on hand, but by all means, give this a go. Your tummy will thank me. Happy hummus bowl-ing 🙂
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 1 cup uncooked barley (or wild rice, brown rice, quinoa, oats, etc)
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup hummus of choice (I used Trader Joe’s Horseradish hummus and it was excellent!)
- 1 large sweet potato (or about 1 cup cubed butternut squash – pre-cut frozen would work great!)
- 1/2 large onion or 1 shallot
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup kale, chopped
- 2 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper [ —> quick note on spices: if you really don’t have any of these or some of these on hand, a hearty dose of curry powder or cumin or any combination will get the job done and still be tasty]
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Cube sweet potato and place on a parchment paper or aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon olive oil to coat sweet potato cubes. Toss gently with a spoon and add salt and pepper to taste. Place into the oven and roast until browned and tender, about 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prepare spice mix by mixing curry powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper and salt in a small bowl. Whisk together with a fork and set aside.
3. Prepare barley or rice according to package. For barley, I added the 2 cups of water to 1 cup of barley, brought to a boil, and simmered over medium heat until barley had plumped and thickened, about 12 minutes.
4. While barley is cooking, drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil into a small skillet or pan. Chop onion finely and add to oil. Add 1/3 of spice mix and simmer onions and spices lightly on low heat until onions are translucent. Lightly chop kale and add to pan. Toss kale gently to soften and cook down slightly.
5. Transfer barley to a medium bowl. While still warm, add hummus and remaining 2/3rds of spice mix. Stir to evenly coat barley with hummus and spices.
6. Add cooked kale and onions from pan directed to bowl and mix again. Top with cubed sweet potatoes and chickepeas. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy :-).