Grilling season – I’m all about it! I know that living in Florida means that I can grill pretty much year-round (oh, who am I kidding? I CAN grill year-round), but it seems like the perfect thing to do this time of the year. Of course, most people think about grilling steaks, burgers, hot dogs, and more…but with me it’s ALL about the vegetables! These grilled vegetable barley bowls are a simple, delicious, and healthy meal that is a go-to for me in the summer season!
So I’m sure you’re thinking: barley?!?! What the heck? Isn’t that just a grain that shows up in soup? It doesn’t have to! I always like to switch up my grains to keep things interesting. I love a big bowl of quinoa or wild rice, but barley is a fun alternative to consider. To me, the consistency is a bit of a combination between al dente pasta and rice: it’s slightly chewy but has a nutty flavor. Why fall in love with it? A serving of barley contains about 20% of your daily dose of fiber, which is great for many reasons but most importantly it helps keep you full for longer! It is also a great source of niacin (vitamin B), which can help to reduce bad cholesterol and lower the risk of blood clots, among other things. Another plus: it’s low in calories. One serving will only run you about 100 calories: not bad at all!
I’ll stop waxing poetic about barley, because it is only half of the magic in this meal. When it comes to grilled vegetables, your options really depend on what floats your boat. I like to get inspired by what is at the market. That currently is zucchini, yellow squash, and we happen to have bell peppers popping up in our garden! I also like to add onion, eggplant, asparagus, or mushrooms depending on what is available! You can really pick what inspires you and what suits your tastes.
What I love is that this meal is almost TOO easy to put together. Simply slice up your veggies, drizzle them with a few tablespoons of olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and minced garlic and toss them on the grill for a few minutes on each side, turning half way through. One quick tip when it comes to grilling squash – cut the slices on a diagonal instead of horizontally or vertically through the squash. When you cut on a diagonal, you get more surface space that has the ability to meet the grill…and that yummy grill flavor is just what you want!
Oh, and of course…popping open a bottle of wine is also a great idea to go with these grilled vegetable barley bowls. I recently enjoyed a delicious H3 Chardonnay by Columbia Crest. It is medium in body with flavors of pear, apples, and honey, as well as hints of oak and vanilla. It went perfectly with our meal, and is also a choice that won’t break the bank (at around $15)!
Have you enjoyed barley before? What veggies would you include in your own grain bowl?
- 1 cup pearled barley
- 3 medium zucchini squash
- 3 medium yellow squash
- 3 bell peppers (assorted colors)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- First, preheat the grill. For our gas grill, we usually heat it to around 450 degrees F.
- Prepare barley according to package instructions. While the barley is cooking, clean and slice the vegetables for the grill in about ½ inch pieces (or wider, if desired).
- Place sliced vegetables in a casserole dish or shallow container. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Toss to fully coat.
- Place vegetables on the grill and cook for about 3-4 minutes on one side, then flip and continue cooking on the other side for an additional 3-4 minutes (depending on thickness of vegetables - cook until tender).
- Remove vegetables from the grill and place sliced vegetables on a bed of barley. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, if desired. Enjoy!