This dish is so incredibly versatile. If you omit the additional stock, it is a hearty side dish; if you add a protein (whether that be fried tofu or cubes of seitan), you have a Vegan Main, and if you want, you can add chicken or beef for a non-vegan option. Simply adding chopped kale or spinach ups the nutritional content and makes for a fulfilled, happy tummy.
The dish freezes well and rehydrates with just a little water or stock.
Pictured here as a soup, it is equally satisfying, especially when pressed to have a hot bowl of soup in a hurry.
4 teaspoon(s) olive oil or avocado oil
1 1/2 cups onions, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
3/4 pounds mushrooms, marinated, jarred, chopped; use a variety if possible, such as cremini, button, and portobello
1 3/4 cup(s) pearl barley
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon thyme
4 cups broth or bouillon, low-sodium, vegetarian
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, if desired
In a large heavy pot, Dutch oven, or Instant Pot, heat oil over medium heat or on sauté function.
Add onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2-3 minutes.
Add mushrooms, garlic, and thyme and cook, stirring for about 7 minutes until sweated.
Add barley and stir. Pour in broth, stir well again and bring to a simmer for about 5 more minutes.
Cover and simmer over low heat until the barley is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes for quick cooking pot barley or 45 to 50 minutes for pearl barley.
If using an Instant Pot, set for porridge and let it go!
If you want to, at the end when the frumenty is done, you can drizzle the balsamic vinegar over for a bright finish.
Alternatively, you can also add chopped spinach for a full vegan meal of grains and greens!
This can be prepared ahead, stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in a covered casserole in a moderate oven or in the microwave.
If you’d like to turn it into a soup, simply add enough stock to loosen, simmer and serve. It goes very well with some crusty bread and a side salad.