Serve this as a vegetarian main course or you can serve smaller portions as a side to poultry or pork, along with a simple green salad or vegetable. The flavours are as vibrant and rich as the fabulous colour.


  • 1 cup (250 mL) pot or pearl barley
  • 4 cups (1 L) reduced salt vegetable broth
  • 1 small acorn or butternut squash, cut into large pieces
  • 6 large shallots, peeled and cut into 3 pieces each
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) olive oil
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) butter
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) ground cumin
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring barley and vegetable broth to a boil; cover pan and reduce heat. Simmer 40 minutes, until barley is tender. Stir occasionally.

Place cut squash and shallots in a baking pan; drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes until soft and lightly browned. Remove squash and lower the oven temperature to keep warm.

Cool slightly and remove rind from the squash. In a large oven proof bowl, coarsely mash squash, then stir in shallots. Return mixture to oven to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter; reduce to low and continue cooking for 5 to 10 minutes. The butter will first foam up, and then become golden brown with brown flecking. Watch this process carefully to ensure the butter does not burn. Remove from heat.

When barley is cooked, remove squash mixture from oven. Stir in cooked barley, brown butter, turmeric, cardamom and cumin. Mixture should be creamy and moist.

Serve garnished with cilantro.

Makes 4 main courses or 6 side dish servings.

Nutritional Information (per main course serving): Calories: 390; Protein: 6 g; Carbohydrate: 60 g; Fibre: 11 g; Sugars: 5 g; Fat: 15 g; Saturated Fat: 8 g; Trans Fat: 0.5 g; Cholesterol: 31 mg; Sodium: 259 mg; Potassium: 534 mg