Leaving aside the fact that, when I made this last night, I dropped a brand-new unopened jar of tahini and it shattered all over my kitchen floor, leaving a huge puddle of oil, this is a really great recipe. I have been fumbling with everything lately – knocking over store displays, dropping food on the floor, dropping beverage containers mid-pour – my hands just don’t want to grip. I am so frustrated with myself. ANYWAY.
I eat a mostly vegetarian diet, and I try to go vegan as much as I can. This is adapted from Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet, which I picked up skeptically at a friend’s house but which is actually pretty cool. Thanks to the tahini, it’s got lots of protein, and it has a lovely smoky flavour. It’s great with a nice crisp salad and excellent as leftovers. I adapted it to cut the sodium (it called for 6 tbsp soy sauce, plus extra salt!) and to make the sauce a little easier to mix.
2 cups barley, rinsed
2 tbsp olive or sesame oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 carrots, grated
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
½ cup tahini
2 tbsp soy sauce
Pinch of garlic powder
Pinch of paprika
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook the barley in boiling water until soft and chewy, about 45 minutes.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Add the onion, celery and garlic and sauté until soft, then add the grated carrots, soy sauce, and basil and oregano and continue cooking for another couple of minutes until everything is softened and mixed together, then set aside.
4. Put the tahini, soy sauce, garlic powder, paprika and a little water in a food processor and blitz until blended and fairly liquidy – you can add more water as needed. The consistency should be like a creamy salad dressing.
5. Spread a little oil in a glass baking dish. When the barley is cooked, mix it with the sautéed vegetables, herbs and soy sauce, then spread half of it on the bottom of the baking dish. Drop half of the tahini dressing in blobs over top, then layer on the other half of the barley, and the rest of the tahini.
6. Bake uncovered in a preheated oven for about 35 minutes, until slightly crispy and browned on top.