What's New: Butternut Barley Pilaf

Butternut squash became a favorite when I (Tyra) decided to add it to my home-grown garden in 2011.  It has a winning NuVal™score of 100 and is fat free, cholesterol free and sodium free.  In addition, this variety of squash is a good source of fiber, potassium, magnesium, and an excellent source of vitamins A and C.  Healthwise, it contains nutrients and phytochemicals (natural plant chemicals) to support vision, heart, and gastrointestinal health.  It also boosts your immune system and lowers risk of some cancers.

I often make roasted butternut squash in the oven or turn it into a silky smooth and comforting soup.  But recently, I tried a new recipe for Butternut and Barley Pilaf.  Using barley (NuVal score = 91) is a tasty way to increase whole grains in your meals.  I really like this recipe for an easy-to-make side dish to bump up flavor and good-for-you nutrients!  Pearled barley takes about 45 minutes to cook, so get this going first and allow it to cook while you prepare the rest of your meal.  Enjoy!

Butternut and Barley Pilaf

2 tsp Food Club Light Olive Oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 14-oz can Food Club Fat Free/Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth
1 ½ cups water
1 cup pearl barley
2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (3/4-inch cubes)*
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste 


1.Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.  

2.Add broth, water, barley and squash; bring to simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the barley and squash are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes. 

3.Add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper; mix gently. Serve hot.  

Yield:  6 (2/3 cup) servings
Source:  adapted from EatingWell
Tip: To save time, use conveniently peeled and cubed, frozen butternut squash.

Nutritional analysis per serving:  calories 170, calories from fat 20, total fat 2.5g, saturated fat 0g, trans fat 0g, cholesterol 5mg, sodium 140mg, total carbohydrate 32g, dietary fiber 7g, sugars 2g, protein 5g, vitamin A 90%, vitamin C 20%, calcium 4%, iron 8%

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