Butternut squash is one of my favorite vegetables to eat during the fall and early winter. While most butternut squash recipes are roasted, this one incorporates a healthy whole grain such as barley with some cheddar and warm seasonings such as cinnamon and nutmeg.
This recipe can be used as a side dish for your Thanksgiving meal or as a main dish if you are vegetarian and looking for something warm and tasty. Enjoy this recipe as you sit around the table with your family and friends this holiday season, it is meant for sharing.
- 1 cup barley
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup yellow onion, diced
- 3 ½ cups butternut squash, diced into cubes
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk, (use 1% or skim to save calories on this recipe)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped fine
- Preheat oven to 350° degrees; While the oven is pre-heating cut and remove the skin and seeds from your butternut squash and dice into cubes. Set the squash aside in a bowl.
- Combine 1 cup barley with 2 cups water. Bring the barley to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover for about 10 minutes until most of the water is absorbed. Drain any remaining water.
- While the barley is cooking, heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for another 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add the squash and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally until the squash is just tender. (Note: Do not remove the squash from heat until it’s tender. Squash that isn’t ripe will be very starchy and difficult to cook with, so you may need to adjust your cooking time.)
- While the squash cooks, melt the butter in a separate saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for about a minute, until it forms a paste. Pour in the milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and bring to a boil. Whisk for another 5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheddar until smooth.
- In a large bowl, combine the barley, squash and cheese sauce. Stir until the sauce is spread evenly across the ingredients. Pour into a baking dish, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover the baking dish, turn the oven to broil and broil for another 5 minutes until the top is golden. Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley over the top as a garnish before serving.