This has quickly turned into a favourite dinner at home. The pearl barley cooks in a flavoursome tomato and red pepper paste to become super soft and tasty, making the perfect base for the big chunks of roasted aubergine and halloumi. It's a filling and wholesome dinner that we usually serve with a simple mixed leaf salad and a side of creamy hummus.
Serves 4 & takes 40 minutes to cook
2 aubergines, cut into bite-sized chunks
1-2 blocks of halloumi, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
2 large tomatoes
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 onion, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
1 vegetable stock cube, mixed with 700ml boiling water
200g pearl barley
Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 190C, fan setting.
2. Place the aubergines and halloumi chunks onto a large baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and a large pinch of salt and cook in the oven for 30-35 minutes until soft. Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to one side until needed.
3. Place the pepper chunks into a blender with the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of paprika, a pinch of salt and the garlic clove, blend until a smooth paste forms. Leave to one side until needed.
4. Place a large flat pan over a medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Once warm, add the diced onion and a pinch of salt, mix well and cook for 5-10 minutes until the onion becomes soft.
5. Once the onion is soft, mix through 1 teaspoon of paprika and cook for a minute before adding the red pepper paste. Mix everything together before leaving the whole thing to simmer for 5 minutes.
6. After 5 minutes, mix through half of the boiling stock water and pearl barley. Give everything a really good mix and bring to the boil, before reducing the heat and leaving to simmer until the pearl barley becomes soft and has absorbed all of the liquid in the pan, this should take around 20-30 minutes. You can add more of the stock water bit-by-bit as the pearl barley needs it, but make sure to cook the dish until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the pearl barley feels soft.
7. Once the pearl barley has absorbed all of the liquid and feels soft, mix through the roasted aubergine and halloumi.
8. Sprinkle it with some fresh coriander and pepper before serving.