Do you sometimes cook with barley? Do you know that barley has a good content of beta-glucan? Yes, the same fibre that you can find in oats! Beta-glucan is a glucose polymer (polysaccharides) found in the cell walls of cereals and other food (for example yeasts, seaweeds, and some mushrooms like shiitake or reishi – it’s also found in other foods in smaller amounts).
The positive effect of grains like barley and oats on cholesterol has been associated with their content of soluble fibre. The beta-glucan structure is different based on the food source (so they are for example soluble fibre in cereals and insoluble in yeasts.. the power of chemistry!). Taking good care of yourself through your food and lifestyle choices CAN BE EASY AND ENJOYABLE.. You just need to give it a go!
Below you’ll find the recipe for a salad with barley, courgettes, and blue cheese – I have used a cheese that has easily become a favorite in my house: Young Buck, a delicious raw milk blue cheese made in Northern Ireland. You can check it out if you’ve never tried it or do a little bit of research until you find your own favorite!
Barley Salad with Courgettes and Blue Cheese
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 120 g barley
- approx. 340 g courgettes
- approx. 40 g blue cheese
- 1 small handful of alfalfa sprouts (or your favorite sprouts)
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds (crushed in a mortar)
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small handful of fresh mint leaves
- a pinch of black pepper
Cook the barley according to the instructions on the package. When it will be ready, simply rinse it with cold water and drain well. While you wait for the barley to cook, you can prepare the other ingredients: cut into small slices the courgettes and cook them in a pan with a little bit of olive oil for 1-2 minutes – you can also decide to divide the courgettes into two parts, then cook some of them and leave the remaining veggies raw (to get the best results, I’ll do this only with small, fresh and crunchy courgettes). Once the courgettes will be cold, place them in a large bowl with spices, dried thyme, lemon juice, barley, cheese, and extra virgin olive oil. Mix well all the ingredients and set them aside in the fridge for approx. 10 minutes. Add the sprouts just before serving and top your bowls with some mint leaves.
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