Because delicious & healthy aren't mutually exclusive.

There’s no question that just the right kind of food can match just the right kind of day, creating a balance in your universe that brings a full belly and a smile to your face. This is just such a meal. I came across this recipe in December 2011 while perusing that month’s issue of Real Simple, and knew we were destined to be together.

I changed very little from the original recipe except for the Parmesan cheese since I don’t eat dairy. Instead, I grind equal parts unhulled sesame seeds and nutritional yeast to create a cheese-like mixture that I use in place of Parmesan AND it’s a complete protein. While the recipe calls for spinach, use whatever greens you have on-hand. I had a blend of spinach, kale and chard and it tasted great.

This meal takes almost an hour to cook, but very little time to prep, especially if you’re like me and when you’re feeling lazy, but really want butternut squash, and purchase the cheater’s squash: it’s already peeled and cubed for you! I LOVE that! It seriously took me five minutes to put together all of the ingredients. Then I used my spare time to make some delicious pumpkin scones.

Observation: there’s not really a “pretty” shot of this dish. Don’t let that deter you. The taste is phenomenal, and it’s very filling, too. The barley and squash make a nice combination of flavors and you’re likely giving yourself a different grain for a change, since we don’t often use barley. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

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