SPRING INTO LIFE
By Jess O’Toole

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. baby beets
  • 8 oz. asparagus
  • 8 oz. baby carrots
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley
  • Sea salt
  • Prepared horseradish condiment

Vegetables begin to deteriorate and lose nutrients the minute they are harvested from the soil, so eating the freshest veggies you can get your hands on is good for your health. This recipe is inspired by the home garden, where you might want to make use of a variety of bits and bobs before they wilt. If you don’t have a kitchen garden, the next best thing is to visit a farmers’ market. Adapt this recipe to the freshest veg you can find — garlic, spring onions, fennel and baby artichokes would all work well. I love the nutty flavor of barley during spring, but if you’re gluten intolerant, feel free to substitute brown rice or quinoa. Enjoy as a light meal or serve with roasted chicken or lamb.

Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a light meal.

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cook the pearl barley according to the package’s directions (this can take about 45 minutes).

Prepare the veggies. Peel the beets and slice them in half lengthways. Peel the asparagus and cut off the thick, hard base of the stem. Slice into 2-inch pieces. Cut the carrots into similar size pieces as the asparagus (no need to peel them if they’re organic). Cut the tops off the radishes (they make a nice salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil). Slice the radishes in half lengthways.

Toss the beets with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Place them on one side of a pan and roast in the hot oven for 10 minutes. Toss the rest of the vegetables with 1 teaspoon olive oil, the thyme leaves and a couple pinches sea salt. Add to the other side of the pan with the beats and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables are just tender and caramelized.

Serve the roasted vegetables over a generous spoonful of pearl barley with a few dollops of prepared horseradish cream.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (if serving 4)

Calories 168
Total Fat 2g
Saturated Fat 1.5g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 100mg
Total Carbohydrates 34g
Dietary Fiber 10g
Sugars 10g
Protein 5g
(Does not include prepared horseradish)

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