Herby Spinach & Pearl Barley with Ricotta & Parmesan Balls

This dish is vibrant and green (just like our Matcha!). The lemony-parmesan-herby mix is a winning combo, and I insist that you eat this with a chilled glass of wine, it’s Friday after all! (If you’re a non-drinker checkout www.alcoholfree.co.uk for a delicious alternative, their virgin wines are really good, I found these when I was pregnant!)

Spinach is my go-to green, it’s super stacked with healthy goodness, an endless list of vitamins and minerals that look after our health and wellbeing, injecting a little va va voom. Spinach is full of dietary fibre, really great for the gut and renowned for its high properties of iron.

Why semolina?

The semolina balls are devilishly good; they add a cheesy burst of flavour amidst the herby stew. Not really cooked with semolina before? It’s naturally low in fat, high in carbs to fuel some energy into your day and is packed with brilliant B vitamins and selenium which your body uses to prevent harmful oxidation of your cell membranes and DNA, which could otherwise contribute to diseases. It strengthens your immune system as well as also being high in iron. If you are looking for a vegan option, why not try making your own nut cheese with nutritional yeast? Check out Deliciously Ella’s version which is really scrummy. Right, onwards with the recipe, I could write about this stuff all day and you just want to cook!

Prep Time:
45 mins

Serves:
4

Oven Temp:
160°C fan assisted, 200°C regular, gas mark 6
 

You will need:

200g Pearl Barley
300g Spinach
3 Garlic Cloves
2 x Onions
200ml White Wine
1 Litre Vegetable Stock
Pack of Parsley
Pack of Coriander
Crème Fraiche
2 Tbsp. Wholegrain Mustard
2 Tbsp. Tomato Puree
Lemon Juice
For the Balls:
100g Finely grated Parmesan
200g Ricotta
100g Semolina
Pink Himalayan Salt & Pepper
 

Method:

First job – making the balls! Mix together your ricotta & finely grated parmesan cheese. Add some black pepper and a little grated nutmeg (be careful not to use too much, it’s really overpowering and will ruin the dish). Pour the semolina out onto a tray and roll your cheesy balls into the grains. Coat them well and pop them in the fridge for a couple of hours to set.

Next up, chop your onions and garlic and gently sauté them over a low heat in some coconut oil until they become slightly caramelised and translucent. Make sure you choose a deep metal pan for the next bit… Add in your spinach and stock and use a hand blender to whizz it all up into a liquid. Once that’s smooth, add your wine and pearl barley, pop the lid on the pan and leave to cook slowly for around 20 minutes until your pearly barley is completely cooked through and your wine has reduced.

Cut your tomatoes into four and pop them in some coconut oil on a baking tray with a few cloves of garlic salt and pepper. Leave these to slowly cook for 20 minutes.

While these are cooking add the chopped coriander, parsley, mustard, tomato paste and lemon juice to your spinach mix and give it a good stir. 

Take your balls out of the fridge and fry off in a little butter. Spoon your spinach & pearl barley onto a plate, alongside your garlicky sweet tomatoes. Pop your cheesy balls on top with a spoon of crème fraiche, grating of Parmesan, sprig of parsley and some more black pepper. Relax and TGIF!!!!