We all have those friends who don’t totally like making vegetarian meals because of the fear they might not get enough protein or the stigma that they aren’t tasty and flavorful. Well the next time these skeptics come over for dinner, you should serve them this dish! With the barley (the traditional recipe is with rice, which would also be delicious) and chickpeas, the dish has loads of protein and fiber, and all the veggies give the dish a balanced finish.
Paella is such a unique in interesting dish. The saffron allows for so many layers of flavor and complex tastes. This version is far from the traditional, but for my first at-home attempt, this recipe wasn’t intimidating, even though it tasted that way! Some day I want to conquer the original with everything from clams to chorizo, but this is a great dish to get you thinking Spain thoughts! And yes- it goes with red or white wine!
This meal is such a nice option for serving a crowd, because it makes a lot and requires minimal effort. While you’re stirring on the stove, the root vegetables are roasting to perfection in the oven. At first I was wondering how well the root vegetables would pair with the other starches and the fresh asparagus, but everything married just perfectly, I wouldn’t change a thing. Just pair with a simple green salad with a classic oil and vinegar, and you’re set to go!
Even the pickiest of the eaters will be satisfied, I promise. Feel free to throw in some green peas or fresh spinach to add a little more of that green color. Let me know how your variations turn out!
Spring Vegetable Barley Paella
Adopted from Bon Appetit, serves 6
- 1 large fresh fennel bulb (about 1 1/2 pounds total), trimmed, each cut into 8 wedges; 2 tablespoons chopped fronds reserved
- 12 ounces baby carrots (from about 4 bunches), trimmed, peeled
- 8 ounces parsnips, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 8 ounces 1 1/2-inch red-skinned new potatoes, halved
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads, crushed (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 plum tomatoes, chopped, seeds and juices reserved
- 2 1/4 cups barley or Arborio rice
- 1 14-ounce can vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 can drained canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss fennel bulbs, carrots, turnips, potatoes and 1/4 cup oil in large bowl. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Transfer to large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender and brown around edges, about 1 hour.
Finely mince 1/4 cup parsley and garlic together. Transfer to small bowl. Stir in paprika, saffron and 1 teaspoon salt.
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes; sauté 2 minutes. Add rice and parsley mixture; stir 2 minutes. Stir in broth, water and wine; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in asparagus, garbanzo beans and roasted vegetables. Increase heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Season paella with salt and pepper. Transfer to large platter. Sprinkle with fennel fronds and remaining parsley.