This Tomato, Barley And Bean Stew Is Thrifty, Hearty And Flexible

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Washington Post

My friend Jordan Smith is a jack of all trades at Edy's Grocer in Brooklyn. He works catered events, develops and bakes many of the pastries that are sold every day, makes the focaccia for the dinner menu, keeps the sourdough starter going and also bakes things for big catering orders, including wedding cakes.

Jordan's busy schedule means that, when he gets home from work, he is, like many of us, tired, pressed for time and eager to make a meal that is affordable and hearty, and that won't take forever to cook. When I asked him whether he would share one of his dinner go-tos for this column, I was so pleased when he sent over this recipe for Barley Stew With Tomatoes, White Beans and Cabbage. He told me that "lately I've been making a lot of quick braises using whatever ingredients I have around,” but added that the base of the braises is always the same: olive oil, garlic, cherry tomatoes. From there, he adds various types of beans, vegetables and grains, making the whole thing the ultimate mix-and-match meal.

Slightly spicy, this substantial one-pot vegan dish is made with garlic, harissa, tomatoes, cabbage, beans and barley. Everything stews together to become a rich sum of its parts. What's more, it's a framework you can use to create your own version of the dish. Switch up the grains and use rice or quinoa instead of barley (adjust the cooking time accordingly) or serve the cabbage and bean stew over pasta (regular or gluten-free). Don't have cabbage but have a bunch of kale that's past its prime? Use that instead. Love spice? Add more harissa. Prefer things milder? Dial back the harissa or skip it. Want a different bean? Go for it. Have a can of diced tomatoes you want to get rid of? Use those instead of the fresh cherry tomatoes. This is a recipe that invites creativity.

This is flexible cooking - comforting, inexpensive, nourishing cooking. The kind of thing we all yearn for at the end of a long day, whether, like Jordan, you had to make hundreds of brownies, or you had a similarly large task to complete. And, of course, you did.

Barley Stew With Tomatoes, White Beans and Cabbage

Active time: 40 minutes. Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Serves 4-6 (makes about 8 cups)

Slightly spicy, this substantial one-pot vegan dish is made with garlic, harissa, tomatoes, cabbage, beans and barley. Everything stews together to become a rich sum of its parts. Optional toppings include briny olives, tangy sour cream (use vegan sour cream to keep it vegan), pickled peppers and/or plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Storage note: Refrigerate for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 to 3 tablespoons harissa paste

1 pint (10 ounces) cherry tomatoes, halved

1 teaspoon fine salt, plus more to taste

1 3/4 cups water or vegetable broth, plus more as needed

1/2 head medium cabbage, roughly chopped (about 6 cups)

Two (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup pearl barley

Juice of 1 lemon

Freshly ground black pepper

Sliced, pitted green olives, sour cream (regular or vegan) and/or minced pepperoncini, for serving (optional)

Barley gets mixed in with the vegetable stock, but there's lots of room for variations in this recipe. Scott Suchman for The Washington Post


In a Dutch oven or deep skillet over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened slightly but not browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the harissa paste. (Take care, as it might pop and splatter a bit.) Stir to bloom and incorporate the harissa into the oil, 20 to 30 seconds.

Add the tomatoes, salt and a splash (about 2 tablespoons) of water or broth to the pot. Stir briefly, then cover and cook until the tomatoes soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Uncover and use the back of a wooden spoon or potato masher to break down the tomatoes. Continue cooking, uncovered, until the mixture thickens slightly, 4 to 5 minutes.

When the mixture looks saucy and the tomatoes have collapsed, add the cabbage. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the cabbage turns glossy and slightly wilted, about 5 minutes.

Add the beans, barley and water or broth. Stir gently to submerge all of the barley in the liquid but without breaking down the beans. If needed, add a bit more water or broth. Increase the heat to bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce it to low and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender but still a little chewy, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let rest, still covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, so the barley can soak up flavor and continue steaming.

Stir in half of the lemon juice, then taste and season with black pepper and more juice and/or salt, as desired.

Serve warm, with more black pepper and the sliced olives, sour cream and/or pepperoncini, if using.


If you can't have gluten, use rice or another gluten-free grain instead of the barley (or serve the cabbage and bean mixture on top of polenta or gluten-free pasta).

No fresh tomatoes? Use a 15-ounce can of cherry or diced tomatoes.

Looking to add more vegetables? Add a diced carrot, diced onion and a few diced celery stalks at the beginning of the recipe.

Want more protein? Top servings with fried or poached eggs.

Can't imagine not having meat? Serve with grilled sausages or roasted chicken.

Sub out the cannellini with chickpeas or other canned white beans.

For canned beans, use 3 cups home-cooked beans.

For pearl barley, substitute pearled or semi-pearled farro.

Instead of harissa, you can use tomato paste.

Nutritional Facts per serving (1 1/3 cups), based on 6 | Calories: 285; Fat: 11 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Carbohydrates: 40 g; Sodium: 443 mg; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Protein: 9 g; Fiber: 10 g; Sugar: 4 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian's or nutritionist's advice.

From baker and writer Jordan Smith, adapted by cookbook author Julia Turshen.


The Peninsula

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