This is a hearty and healthy supper dish which you can make vegan by omitting the feta cheese. Really easy to make and full of goodness.
Cooking time 1.5 hrs
NUTRITION TIP: Red peppers are the most nutritious of all bell peppers. They are full of antioxidants and off the scale in vitamin C. They also contain vitamin K1, vitamin E, vitamin A, folate, and potassium. This recipe gives each person one whole red pepper so it gives you more than 100% of your daily requirement of immunity supporting vitamin C. I've also included pot (whole) barley, an excellent source of fibre. It's less refined than pearl barley but just takes longer to cook. There are also pinto beans which provide protein, fibre and a lovely additional flavour and texture.
WHAT YOU NEED (serves 2)
Two red peppers
Three handfuls of pot (whole) barley
Two handfuls of red quinoa
One small tin of pinto beans (200g)
100g chestnut or button mushrooms
Two large handfuls of baby spinach
One large clove of garlic
Splash of olive oil
Teaspoon of smoked paprika
Sprinkle of chilli flakes (optional)
1 tbsp tomato puree
100g of feta (optional if you prefer the vegan option)
Vegetable stock cube
Splash of water
WHAT YOU DO:
About 1.5hrs before you want to serve, slice the top off the peppers, take out the seeds and roast in a moderate over (180 degrees) standing in a dish, drizzled with a little oil (include the top of the pepper too!)
Put the pot barley into boiling, salted water (this will take about an hour - but set the timer for 45 minutes)
While they are both on the go, chop or slice all the vegetables, ad the smoked paprika and chilli flakes (optional) and fry them until soft in the olive oil. Once they're cooked, take them off the heat and wait for the peppers and pot barley.
When the timer goes, put the quinoa into the water with the pot barley.
Meanwhile, add a splash of water (or wine!), the vegetable stock cube, and the tomato puree to the vegetables, add the small tin of beans and the spinach. Cook over a gentle heat with the lid on.
By the time it's all heated through and the spinach has wilted the peppers and grains should be cooked. Drain the grains and add to the vegetable mix. Stir it all through.
Load the red pepper with the mixture (some may overflow but that's fine!). If you're using feta, add cubes to the top and quickly pop it under the grill to turn it brown.
If you want an easier version, Sainsburys do a pearl barley, quinoa and pinto bean pouch of grains - that's where I got the idea from - so you could save yourself the cooking!