It’s time for the Recipe Redux challenge again! This month’s theme is: “Spring Clean Your Kitchen”.

What does it mean? The challenge is to make a meal with whatever you currently have in your pantry/fridge. When thinking about what to cook for the next day’s dinner, we often tend to look up recipes that use new ingredients that we’ll have to go to a store for. But starting your meal planning by looking at what you actually have on hand will save you time, money, and help prevent food waste by making sure you use up everything you have bought. And it will also improve your creativity!

The key to being able to cook up a tasty and healthy meal at any time is stocking up on some vital pantry staples. Whole grains, beans, milk, tomato cans, frozen vegetables, vegetable broth, various seasonings, etc. Keep ingredients you use a lot on hand so that you are never caught completely off guard!

Nutrients in this recipe

White beans are a great source of protein, not only for vegetarians. Like other beans, they also contain plenty of fiber and several types of vitamin B. They are also rich in minerals like magnesium, folate, copper (over half of the recommended daily intake in 1 cup of white beans!), iron, and potassium. The polyphenol antioxidants in white beans protect your body from oxidant stress and have been linked to improved cardiovascular health and better immune system response.

Broccoli is a true power food among vegetables due to its very high vitamin and mineral content. It provides a ton of vitamin C and vitamin K that can still be easily absorbed even after frying or boiling. Broccoli is also a good source of antioxidants, mainly glucoraphanin which has been linked with reduced blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Barley, like all whole grains, contains a lot of fiber and is much healthier than other refined grains like white rice. It provides considerable amounts of minerals such as copper, manganese, selenium, and phosphorus. However, barley can be difficult to digest for some people and if that’s the case for you, remember that it’s better to soak (or even sprout) it before cooking.

Italian-style Broccoli Bean Salad with Barley

Necessary equipment:

  • a stockpot
  • a cast iron pan
  • a rubber spatula

Ingredients:

4 servings

  • 1 bag of barley grains
  • 1 bag of frozen broccoli (16 ounces)
  • 1 can of any white beans
  • 1 large shallot
  • 2 T. of olive oil (I used the one infused with basil)
  • 1 t. of red pepper
  • 1 t. of oregano
  • 1/2 t. of black pepper
  • 1/2 t. of sea salt
  • 1/2 t. of thyme
  • optional: 1/3 cup of freshly grated parmesan OR hemp seeds OR chia seeds
  • optional: a poached egg OR 1/3 of a tofu block

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the white beans thoroughly. Slice the shallot.
  2. Pour 1 1/2 cup of water in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Add the barley grains and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat.
  4. Fry the sliced shallot for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add in the broccoli florets and all the seasonings. Stir and leave to cook under a cover for about 8 minutes.
  6. Add in the white beans, stir them in, and cook for another 2 minutes.
  7. Mix the vegetable mixture with cooked barley in a large bowl. Sprinkle everything with some more olive oil and top with some optional ingredients if desired.