How to make quinoa and pearl barley bowl - The Little Plantation

“…and the next moment all of them were filled with wonder. For they saw, standing in just the spot the screen had hidden, a little old man, with a bald head and a wrinkled face, who seemed to be as much surprised as they were.” ― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

I don’t know how you see me. I don’t know if you visualise me snacking on carrot sticks, or better yet, never snacking at all. If you imagine me meditating for hours on end, before gracefully drinking my green juice. Or if you think I float out of my daily (!) yoga class whilst reading a book about the power of Vitamin C. If so, please erase these images from your mind, as they are as true as Dorothy’s image of the Great Wizard of Oz. (Although, if truth be told, I am rather partial to a little green juice ;)). 

Today’s recipe is easy, quick, filling, versatile, uncomplicated and visually attractive. Enjoy!

How to make quinoa and pearl barley bowl - The Little Plantation

You see, after having one of my recipes featured by FINDING VEGAN last week I was soooo elated, super happy, over the moon and delighted but suddenly also felt a bit of pressure; I don't want to let anyone down. Hence I wanna set the record straight to followers old and new: in case you didn't already know ;), I'm a mere mortal who is just trying to figure out what works for her and her family. I make more mistakes in the kitchen than I’d even care to admit - even here - and I am still trying to get my head around the complex and wonderful world of optimum nutrition. You know, my mainly plant-based lifestyle is still so, so new and I get confused and frazzled just like everyone else. It’s a journey, a long, long road of trail and error, but - I must say - it’s rather lovely you are coming along for the ride.

There are a handful of great books which have really helped me along the way; when I loose my way or get my knickers in a twist, I always refer back to them. So I wanted to share these super duper sources of inspiration, knowledge and beauty here with you today, in the hope you too will find them helpful on your plant-based journey:

How to make quinoa and pearl barley bowl - The Little Plantation

1. The China Study by Dr T. Colin Campbell – This is where it all started for me. A book about the impact of eating animal based protein and a detailed, but accessible explanation about why it is so devastating for our body and overall health. 
2. Crazy Sexy Kitchen by Kris Carr – This is sooo much more than just a cute cookbook. Kris is a phenomenal writer (my writing idol in fact) and her witty, yet knowledgeable approach to health makes this book a must read. 
3. Jivamukti Yoga by Sharon Gannon and David Life – This book is not just for those who practice yoga. It's for everyone. It’s a lifestyle book packed full of ideas about how to live and eat in harmony with the planet and every living being on it. Even if you eat meat, this is a gorgeous, gorgeous read. Please do get it!
4. Whole by Dr T. Colin Campbell – This book is still accessible, but perhaps more in-depth and more scientific that his previous book, The China Study. Whole looks much more closely at why a plant-based diet is the way to go. This one is great for those who were left with further questions after reading The China Study (as I was) and/or those who are interested in delving deeper into understanding the true powers of nutrition.
5. Salt, Fat, Sugar by Michael Moss – OMG PLEASE buy and read this book! It explores how the big food giants lure us away from real food, towards highly engineered junk food. I found this book oh so empowering and eye opening. A must read, especially for parents and those fighting food addictions.
6. Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz – Another magical book, this time about the power of real superfoods i.e. fermented foods. Intimidating, but utterly amazing. You can read a little bit more about the book in my post about home-made vegan pistachio yogurt here.
7. Veggistan by Sally Butcher – Are you in a cooking rut and looking for a new approach in the kitchen? Then this is the book for you. It has mouthwatering vegetarian recipes and pretty pictures galore. A real gem.  
8. Plenty by Ottolenghi – I know, I know everyone is raving about his new book, but I still like/prefer this one. Why, well, it doesn’t have a dessert section (how brave is that!) and is really all about what should be the main attraction: vegetables. Have a look through this gorgeous page turner and I defy you not to fall head over heels.
9. River Cottage Veg Every Day by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – This is THE book I turn to most often, as those of you have been following the blog for a while know quite well. An unpretentious vegetarian recipe book that takes the I out of intimidating and the F out of fear. Go get it, you know you want to ;).
10. Abundance by Alys Fowler - Last but not least this is a gardening book and cooking inspiration all in one. The title alone gives it all away, right? I LOVE this one soooo much. It’s well used and much treasured. 

Got something to add? Do let me know. I'd love to hear from you. Thanks for reading everyone.

How to make quinoa and pearl barley bowl - The Little Plantation

Now to today’s recipe. It’s a little gem, just like the books above. Easy, quick, filling, versatile, uncomplicated and visually attractive. I hope you enjoy it:).


Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: approximately 15 minutes
Serves: 3-4


2 cups of quinoa (any colour you wish)
1 cup of pearl barley (please see tips for gluten-free alternatives)
1 yellow pepper
1 celery stalk
Seeds of 1 luscious pomegranate (see tips for alternatives)
A splash of olive oil
15g of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped (no stems) (see tips for alternatives)
Handful of sunflower seeds
Salt to taste (I use Pink Himalaya Salt)


Cook the quinoa with a pinch of salt over a medium heat. Cook the pearl barley with a pinch of salt over a medium heat. When the grains are cooked, drain the water, combine the grains and let them cool down for 10 minutes or so.
Whilst the grains cook (or when they are cooling down), please wash and chop the pepper, celery and parsley. 
When the quinoa and barley have cooled down, place them together with the chopped pepper, celery, parsley, pomegranate seeds and sunflower seeds in a serving dish. Taste for salt and add a tiny bit more if you like. Drizzle with a tiny bit of organic olive oil, serve and enjoy! 

IMPORTANT: Please read tips below for a gluten-free version.

Tip 1: Make this in the quantity stated, even if you are just cooking for 1 or 2 as this dish keeps quite well in the fridge, for about 3 days or so. Your left-overs are perfect for lunch at the office the next day.

Tip 2: Want to avoid gluten, please replace the pearl barley with quinoa or buckwheat.

Tip 3: If quinoa is hard to come by or too expensive or you just want to eat more 'local', replace it with more pearl barley or buckwheat. I’ve also used couscous as the star grain and it was rather lovely. 

Tip 4: Pomegranates can be replaced with blueberries, red currants, dried cranberries; even fresh or dried apricots will go lovely with this dish.

Tip 5: Herbs not in season? Then use finely chopped kale instead (no stem). 

Eat with... Watermelon GazpachoPersian Herb Salad and Chunky Avocado Dip as I did with a lovely group of yoginis at a recent Urban Yoga Retreat.

How to make quinoa and pearl barley bowl - The Little Plantation