MY HUSBAND and I grew up on plain hearty foods, and we both learned early on that simple food, well prepared, maintains good health.
I always felt I was giving my family the best when I prepared this dish. They loved the nutty flavor and chewy texture of the barley, and it was a delicious departure from rice as a side dish.—Elaine Kremenak
Grants Pass, Oregon
I love to cook and come up with new recipes. I serve this dish at least once a month and sometimes more. For a different twist, I'll occasionally add a scrambled egg or use soy sauce instead of the rice vinegar. —Sonya Labbe, Santa Monica, California
This cool refreshing salad is perfect to serve in warm weather. Bulgur blends deliciously with parsley, mint, tomatoes, onions and lemon juice. "My brother brought this great grain dish to a family gathering," explains Wanda Watson of Irving, Texas. "I loved the taste and texture so much, I had to have his recipe.
Crisp polenta squares make a delightful side for a variety of main dishes. Sun-dried tomatoes and just the right amount of seasoning make them seem special...a dollop of sour cream adds the finishing touch! Shelly Fisher - Hermiston, Oregon
This pilaf is both colorful and tasty," says Kris Erickson from Everett, Washington. "The slightly chewy texture of the barley, the tender vegetables and lively spices make it special enough for company. I love to cook and experiment in the kitchen—especially with grains and veggies."
Forget the potatoes and rice, and consider this change-of-pace dinner accompaniment from Shirley Doyle. The Mt. Prospect, Illinois reader relies on wholesome barley for the heart-smart dish that complements most any main course.
From Waupaca, Wisconsin, Barbara Lane shares the recipe for a hearty barley stew that's sure to take the edge off cool-weather days. "Sometime I substitute millet for the barley," she suggests. "I pre-toast it in a skillet over medium heat, just until it starts to pop. It adds a nice nutty flavor.
I created this recipe after tasting quinoa at a local restaurant. I really enjoy rice pilaf, but I don’t usually have time to make it. This quick-cooking side is a tasty alternative. –Sonya Fox of Peyton, Colorado