I’m really into one pan/skillet-style cooking lately! This vegan broccoli and barley dish has a risotto-like quality, but also a slightly cheesy veggie mac feel. Either way, it’s comforting, healthy and pretty easy to make. I personally love all these things this time of year 🙂 I would serve this recipe with a simple green salad for a nice dinner, as I would serve this creamy lemon orzo with chickpeas and broccoli.
The ingredient list for the sauce looks a little long, but if you’ve cooked from my site before, you’ll have many of those pantry items on hand! The cheesy cashew sauce can be made up to 5 days ahead and refrigerated in a sealed container. To replace cashews in this creamy sauce, I recommend raw sunflower seeds, pine nuts, or macadamia nuts (macadamia nuts should be soaked for 8 hours before blending).
I start this recipe by making a super savory sauce in the blender. A simple raw cashew base with lots of flavor from garlic, miso, nutritional yeast, spices, Dijon mustard, roasted shallots and a roasted red pepper. This is set aside while we start making the broccoli, barley and white bean base. Small pieces of broccoli are quickly cooked and set aside.
Then go with another shallot base! In my opinion you can never have too many shallots. I add pearl barley and white beans for some extra protein and then pour over the vegetable stock. We bring it to a boil and simmer until the pearl barley is tender, about 20 minutes. The key to shortening the cooking time is to use pearl barley. Pearled or semi-pearlized farro will also work in this recipe.
From here, everything is stirred together and warmed. Pretty easy! I like to garnish with some chopped dill, chives or parsley (whatever I have on hand at the time).
For more pearl barley goodness, check out my Vegan Barley Risotto with Roasted Carrots. And check out my Brothy Beans for simple but glorious white beans.
Cheesy Vegan Broccoli and Barley with White Beans
This cheesy vegan broccoli and barley dish comes together in about 1 hour in a pan with a quick blender sauce. Rich and dairy-free with raw cashews and flavored with garlic, miso, roasted peppers, spices and shallots.
Cheesy cashew red chili sauce
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small shallot, small dice (about ¼ cup chopped shallots)
- 1 cloves Garlic, chopped
- ½ the cup Soak raw cashews for at least 2 hours
- 1 Roasted red chillies (Great from a jar!)
- 3 table spoon Nutritional Scream
- 1 ½ table spoon Light miso
- 2 table spoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Tamari I’m Willow
- ½ teaspoon Smoked paprika
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- ½ the cup the water
- Hot sauce, to taste
Broccoli, barley and white beans
- 1 table spoon Olive oil, split
- 4 the cup Chopped broccoli (small pieces)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 big shallot, finely diced (about ½ cup chopped shallots)
- cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 the cup pearl barley
- 19-oz (591 mL) can white beans, drained and rinsed (2 ¼ cups cooked white beans)
- 5 the cup Vegetable extract
- the paw Chopped parsley, dill, or chives, for serving
- Pearl barley is the key to achieving a faster cooking time here. Pearled or semi-pearlized farro will also work in its place.
- If you can’t find cashews, I recommend substituting with raw sunflower seeds, pine nuts, or raw macadamia nuts. Macadamia nuts will need to soak for 8 hours.
- For an even easier option, if you have access to non-dairy “cream” at the grocery store (I use this is Often), you can substitute cashews and water 1-1 in cheesy sauce recipes¼ cup of “cream”.
- The cheesy sauce can be made and stored in the fridge up to 5 days in advance.
Make the cheesy cashew red chili sauce. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer shallots and garlic to an upright blender. Add cashews, roasted red peppers, nutritional yeast, miso, lemon juice, dijon, tamari, smoked paprika, water, salt, pepper, and hot sauce to blender. Blend mixture on high until smooth and creamy, about 2 full minutes. Set aside.
Start with broccoli and barley. Set the pot on medium heat. Drizzle with ½ tablespoon of olive oil and swirl around. Add all the broccoli and stir. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. until the broccoli is bright green and beginning to soften in the stems, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the broccoli and set aside on a plate. It will continue to cook a little and is ok! Return the pot to the heat.
Pour the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil into the pan and swirl it around. Add the shallots and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and dried thyme and fry for another full minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add the barley and coat with the oil and spices. Add the white beans and stir again. Pour in the vegetable stock.
Bring the barley and bean mixture to a boil, covered. Reduce heat to simmer and place a lid on top, slightly tilted. Check in on pots here and there. It takes about 30 minutes for the barley to be tender (but still somewhat chewy) and most of the stock absorbed.
Pour the cheesy cashew chili sauce into the bowl and stir to combine. Give it a taste and adjust the seasoning if needed. Let it simmer for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Add the roasted broccoli to the pot and stir. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs and additional black pepper if desired.