This year turmeric is predicted to climb to the top of spice racks across Canada and USA. A relative of the ginger plant, turmeric has a distinct taste and gets its vibrant yellow colour from its active ingredient curcumin. Curcumin is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which promote heart and immune health. With a spice as healthy and delicious as turmeric, let’s explore a few turmeric-spiced GoBarley recipes and add some zing to your February menu.

Barley Tico Salad

Get ready to awaken your senses with this delicious Central American inspired salad. The turmeric along with ginger, cumin, garlic and hot chili sauce creates a spice blend that perfectly complements barley’s slightly nutty flavour and chewy texture. The avocado and pineapple add more colour and delicious flavours. This versatile heart-healthy salad can be served over baby spinach, as a cold side or my favourite way by adding it to fish tacos in a soft corn tortilla—yum!

Jane’s Meal Planning Tip
Make sure you plan time ahead (about 40 minutes) to cook the barley. Cook extra barley, package it in 1 cup (250 mL) containers and freeze to have on hand to add to other GoBarley recipes.

Roasted Squash and Barley in Brown Butter

Butternut squash is a favourite winter vegetable with the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Both help promote eye and immune health. I recommend using butternut squash in this dish as it pairs well with a variety of flavours including the rich seasonings of turmeric, cardamom and cumin. Serve this vibrant-coloured vegetarian dish as the main course, as a side to poultry or pork, or with a simple green salad.

Jane’s Meal Planning Tip
The recipe makes 6 side servings, so if you have any leftovers store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The spice blend creates more complex flavours making this a scrumptious recipe.

Curried Chicken and Barley

In the cold of winter it is great coming home to a hot, ready-to-eat slow cooker dinner. The flavours of curry, ginger and garlic in this slow cooker recipe will warm you up even more. Did you know curry powder is made up of a blend of spices—including turmeric, cumin and chili powder—and it can range in flavour from mild to very spicy? The full cup of yogurt in this recipe makes the sauce extra creamy and helps to balance out the flavours, especially if you picked a curry powder with more heat!

Jane’s Meal Planning Tip
To make this recipe even more heart healthy use low sodium diced tomatoes and 2% plain yogurt along with the low sodium chicken broth

Barley Bottom Line
Turmeric is becoming a mainstream ingredient because of its bold taste, vibrant colour and health benefits. It’s an excellent complement to barley’s neutral colour and slightly nutty flavour. Have fun with these three turmeric-spiced GoBarley recipes and let me know which one is your favourite.

Did you know? February is heart month! In addition to eating turmeric (a heart healthy spice), you can protect your heart with barley. The beta-glucan fibre found in barley helps reduce cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Click here to learn how barley can keep you and your heart healthy.