Pearl Barley with Black Beans & Summer Vegetables

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3/4 cup Pearl barley
3 cups Water
As needed Kosher salt
1 Tbsp     Olive oil
½ each Red onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 small Zucchini, diced
1 each Red bell pepper, diced
1-1/2 cups Asparagus, cut in 1” pieces (approximately 6-7 large spears)
As needed Water
2 cups Cooked black beans (or one 15 oz can; drained)
½ bunch Red Chard, cut in bite size pieces (2 cups)
1 Tbsp Lemon zest
1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
1 tsp. Fresh thyme
To taste Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup Hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

1.Combine the barley, water and a pinch of salt in a 2 qt. saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook on low for 1 hour; set aside.

2.Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Add onion, garlic, zucchini and red bell pepper; lower heat and cook until tender (approx. 3 minutes). Add barley; adjust heat to a simmer.

3.Add asparagus and additional water if needed; cook until asparagus is tender.

4.Stir in the black beans, chard and lemon zest; wilt briefly. Add cheese and thyme; season with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with hazelnuts and serve.