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Squash and Barley Faux Mexico

Okay, so my cooking skills perhaps outshine my facility for making up names for recipes. All the good names have been taken, though – how could I hope to top, say, “Ouefs a la Neige,” or “Spanikopita?”

Anyway, I am having some sort of summer crud involving a sore throat and a stuffy nose, and so I convinced myself that some healthy food would help me get better faster. Never mind the fact that I had several zucchini, summer squash, and sweet onions on the edge of death from last week’s trip to the Farmer’s Market.

My original plan was to use up the instant barley in my cupboard and combine it with a vaguely Italian combination of the squashes, onions, garlic and some fresh Basil and Parmesan. I still plan to try this some day, but making it today would have meant dipping into the Parmesan I need to make Carbonara for dinner, so I changed continents and found a can of black beans and some cumin seeds. Here’s what I made, which was actually quite good. It could certainly be made healthier with 2% cheese, but I was using up what I had in the house.


Squash and Barley Faux Mexico

  1. 1 cup instant barley
  2. 1 large or 2 small zucchini, halved and sliced thin
  3. 1 large or 2 small yellow squash halved and sliced thin
  4. 1 sweet onion halved and sliced thin
  5. 1 garlic clove, smashed
  6. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  7. 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  8. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  9. 1 can black beans, drained
  10. 1 cup shredded Mexican Blend, Monterey Jack, Cheddar or Chihuahua cheese
  11. salt and pepper to taste

Bring 2 cups water to a boil, add barley, and simmer for 10-12 minutes.

While barley simmers, heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion for about 3 minutes, until onion starts to soften. Add cumin seeds and cayenne and stir for 1 more minute. Add zucchini and summer squash and saute until squashes are soft, taking care not to burn garlic and onions. This should take up most of the time it takes for the barley to cook.

Remove barley from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. During this time, reduce heat under squash mixture to “low,” stir canned beans gently into mixture, and then stir in cheese. Stir barley into squash mixture, add salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy.

Note: I did not experience a miraculous cure, but I had a great lunch.


About imagineannie

I feel like I'm fifteen - does that count? I'm lots of things, I get paid to be the Managing Editor for a local news publication, and I love my job. I am also inordinately fond of reading, animals (I have four), elephants, owls, hedgehogs writing, tramping in the woods, cooking India, Ireland, England, avocado toast, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Little Women, Fun Home, Lumber Janes, Fangirl, magic, Neil Gaiman, Jane Austen, YA books, not YA books, classical music, Salinger (OMG SALINGER), Brahms, key lime pie, indie music, podcasts, sleeping in, road trips, marmalade, museums, bookstores, the Oxford comma, BBC, The Miss Fisher Mysteries, birdwatching, seashells, kombucha, and stickers. Not a huge fan of chewing gum, jazz, trucker hats or dystopian and/or post-apolcalyptic fiction (but I'll try anything).

4 responses »

  1. You weren’t cured because recipe didn’t contain any CHOCOLATE or RUM in it!!!

    Chocolate and rum always cures aches

  2. Ah, but it may take a while for me to come up with a recipe that includes chocolate and rum and also uses up surplus squash – a recipe like that might lead to other kinds of illness.

    Thanks for visiting!

  3. Delicious, nutritious, and quick. THANKS for the recipe.

  4. streater, welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed this recipe; its one of my favorite inventions.


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