Vegetable-Barley Casserole

by Anne Bennett on November 21, 2011

This photo was taken just before I sprinkled on the cheese and put it in the oven. Aren’t the vegetables’ bright colors beautiful?

Every week Weight Watchers distributes a leaflet that contains healthy eating tips, exercise ideas and recipes. Last week the recipe was for a variation of this vegetarian casserole. Since I had barley in my pantry and had no idea what to do with it, I figured this was a fortuitous sign.

Before assembling the casserole I cooked the barley on the brown rice setting of my rice cooker. If you’re a barley novice, I’d just follow the package directions. Pearled barley works well here. I also added kidney beans to my version, and I’m glad I did. They gave the dish a Tex-Mex flair as well as some extra heartiness. I love Swiss chard, but you can substitute baby spinach if you prefer.

Wow! This was so good I’m going to put it on a semi-regular Meatless Monday rotation. Leftovers were even better the next night.

2 t. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups Swiss chard, coarsely chopped*
2 cups frozen corn, thawed and drained
1 cup dark kidney or black beans
1 14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes with chilies (I used Rotel)
2 cups cooked barley
1/4 t. cumin
1/4 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. salt
pepper to taste
1/2 cup sharp, low-fat shredded cheddar cheese

*remove tough stems from chard with a knife before chopping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet and sauté onion until translucent. Add garlic and Swiss chard and cook until chard is tender, about 5 minutes. Add corn, beans, tomatoes, barley, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and heat through.

Coat a 3-quart baking dish with nonstick spray and spread barley mixture evenly into dish. Sprinkle with cheese and bake until cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

Serves 6

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