Barley has an earthy, nutty personality with a powerhouse of a nutritional profile. While I try to cook with only seasonal veggies, sometimes frozen veggies like edamame and peas are the best-tasting and most pocket-friendly option.
1 cup pearled barley
1 cup frozen, shelled edamame
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup chopped spinach (preferably fresh, but frozen is okay in a pinch; see note below)
2 1/4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Place the barley in a medium saucepan.
Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until all of the water is nearly absorbed, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the edamame and peas and cook uncovered, until the barley absorbs all of the remaining water, another 5 to 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat, stir in the spinach, and set aside. In a small bowl whisk the Worcestershire sauce, lemon zest and juice, and salt together. Pour the vinaigrette over the barley, stir to combine, and serve warm or at room temperature.
*If using frozen spinach, partially thaw to separate into clumps, and add it when adding the edamame and peas.
Note: The coolest thing about barley is that it contains plenty of insoluble fiber that feeds friendly bacteria in the digestive tract. These good bacteria keep tummies happy and healthy. Technically, pearled barley has less fiber, but fiber is still found throughout the entire kernel.