Friday, November 8, 2013

{Recipe} barley, sausage, and spinach with mushrooms & basil

I've been making this dish for years. I love it because 1) it's super yummy and 2) it's an easy primer for anyone who isn't too familiar cooking with whole grains. It's also a complete meal in one! ;) 


Yield: makes about 4 servings

2 cups free-range chicken broth
1 cup quick-cook barley
~12 oz Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, sliced or chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, chopped, or 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4-1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
2 T sherry
5 oz organic baby spinach
Coarsely ground salt to taste
1/4 tsp coarse black pepper

Place broth in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add barley to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 10 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage to pan; heat until cooked through, stirring to crumble. Transfer cooked sausage to a bowl.

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, peppers, and mushrooms; saute until soft and liquid evaporates. Add garlic and basil and saute 1 minute. Return sausage to pan. Stir in sherry; cook about 2 minutes.

Stir in spinach until wilted. Add cooked barley; cook 1 minute or until heated through. Add salt and pepper.

This dish makes good use of fiber-rich foods: all the veggies and the whole-grain barley. Fiber has many benefits, including helping to increase satiety (make you feel more "full" on fewer calories), promote good digestion, and lower blood cholesterol.

Each serving contains ~365 calories.

Pro Tips
Pre-washed, bagged spinach is one of my favorite things to cook with. Healthy ingredients don't get any easier than this, folks. Fresh spinach can be added to soups, skillet dishes, sauces--just about anything--and ups the nutritional profile of any meal immensely! I use organic spinach whenever I can since spinach is on the "dirty dozen" list, which means it is one of the produce items most likely to be contaminated with pesticide residue.    

Enjoy ;)

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