29 September 2015

Barley bowl with miso dressing

This may seem like a lot of work for a warm salad, but it's so worth it.  I cannot even describe how satisfying this meal is, or how much better your life will be with this recipe for miso dressing.  Because preparing all the ingredients of this dish requires some labor, make plenty of extra; multiply the amounts here as many times as you want.  Every bit of it will freeze, so you can keep putting bowls together for dinner when you come home late and hungry, to pack for a not-sad-desk-lunch, etc. You get the picture.  Now get to work!

Barley Bowl with Miso Dressing

Serves 4

For the bowl:
1 cup rinsed barley, farro, or wheat berries
1/2 head broccoli, cut into florets and bite-sized stem pieces
1/2 small butternut squash
1 block tofu, pressed and drained of excess water

Miso Dressing:
1 rounded tablespoon white or yellow miso
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar, or 1 tablespoon rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 small garlic press, minced or put through a press
Pinch of cayenne
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 tablespoons peanut oil
2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt 

Chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges, for serving

In a large saucepan, combine the barley and 2 cups of well-salted water.  Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until tender and water has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Check occasionally and add more water if it's boiling off too fast. 

Combine all dressing ingredients EXCEPT yogurt. Cut the tofu into bite-sized chunks, dunk them in the miso mixture, and set in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in the oven at 375 degrees (no need to preheat) and bake until browned, flipping once, for about 30 minutes. Then you can add the yogurt and whisk to complete the dressing. 

Steam the broccoli and squash, which can be done with a steamer insert over your barley or in a separate pan.  Cook until the squash is tender but still firm.

To assemble the bowl: place a quarter of the barley in a large bowl or on a plate.  Scatter a quarter of the vegetables and tofu on top and drizzle with the miso dressing.  Sprinkle some fresh cilantro on top and squeeze a liberal amount of lime juice over the whole thing.  

Bonus: the dressing will keep for a week in the refrigerator, and it's delicious over salad, roasted vegetables, and warm and cold soba noodles.