This casserole is a delicious blend of fall flavours. Serve as a hearty vegetarian main dish with a green salad, or as a welcome side dish to any meal.


  • 3 cups (750 mL) peeled and cubed rutabaga
  • 3 leeks, sliced, white part only
  • 2 apples, cored and sliced
  • ½ cup (125 mL) pot or pearl barley
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) whole barley flour
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) cold butter
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) no-salt-added Italian herb blend
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ cups (375 mL) skim milk
  • 1 cup (250 mL) grated cheese (e.g., Havarti or Gouda)

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease a 2-quart (2 L) lidded casserole dish.

Spoon half of the rutabaga into the casserole dish; cover with half of the leeks and one sliced apple. Sprinkle half of both the barley and flour overtop. Cut butter into thin slices and dot half of it over vegetables and barley. Sprinkle half of both the herb mixture and nutmeg overtop. Repeat with a second layer. The ingredients will not be in flat layers, texture is expected.

Pour milk over the layers and top evenly with cheese. Cover with lid or foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking for 15 to 20 minutes until cheese is lightly browned and liquid has absorbed.*

*If, after the first 30 minutes in the oven, the liquid has already been absorbed, add up to another 1/2 cup (125 mL) of skim milk to the casserole by pouring near the edge of the dish. Then return it to the oven for the last 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese is lightly browned and liquid has absorbed.

Makes 6 servings (¾ cup/175 mL each).

Nutritional Information (per serving): Calories: 361; Protein: 19 g; Carbohydrate: 51 g; Fibre: 7 g; Sugars: 28 g; Fat: 10 g; Saturated Fat: 6 g; Trans Fat: 0.2 g; Cholesterol: 38 mg; Sodium: 374 mg; Potassium: 1003 mg