Hearty & Nutritious Barley Bolognese

Pearl Barley Pasta Bolognese

Hearty & Nutritious Barley Bolognese

A pasta as you know it! But instead of using highly processed meat(-replacers), we use pearl barley as a healthy substitute. 
 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
 200 g onion, chopped
 200 g carrot, peeled and chopped
 200 g button mushrooms
 3 l cloves garlic
 100 ml red wine
 200 g pearl barley
 50 g sun-dried tomatoes
 500 ml tomato puree
 1 bay leaf
 1 tsp finely ground nutmeg
 1 l water or stock
 250 ml plant-based milk
 500 g tagliatelle, fettuccini, spaghetti, noodles, or whatever tickles your fancy



Finely chop veggies or outsource the work to your nearest food processor.


Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and add finely chopped veggie mixture, stirring occasionally. Season lightly with salt and let those veggies sweat. Cook until moisture has been released and veggies are threatening to stick to the bottom of the pot.


Add wine and stir. Sticky veggies will give up their hold on the bottom of the pot. Cook until most off the wine has evaporated and the bottom of the pot is nearly dry


Reduce to low heat and add barley and sun-dried tomatoes. Stir until incorporated.


Add tomato sauce, bay leaf, and nutmeg and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour half (500ml) of the water or stock that you intend to use along with 1 cup of your milk of choice into the pot. At this point, the sauce will rather liquid, which is perfect. The barley will absorb all of this beautiful liquid and a lot will evaporate.


On the lowest heat setting, cook for about 1 hour, adding your reserve of water or stock as the sauce thickens and you need more. You may not need the full 500ml or water or stock. You shouldn't see any rapid bubbling. Just slow, lava-like bubbles. The sauce is done when the barley is tender and the sauce has a consistency similar to chilli.


Taste the sauce and season with salt according to your taste. Discard bay leaf and keep the sauce warm.


Cook your pasta in a pot of salted and boiling water. Cook until nearly al dente and drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot, along with the water and a few ladles of your sauce. On medium heat, stir the pasta constantly until it is al dente, or done by your standards.


Serve with a sprinkle of (vegan) parmesan. 

A recipe by Mori from Realizing Fitness

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