Vegetable barley

Vegetable barley
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We got the diagnosis on Monday night. My husband and I learned that he’s diabetic after a 12-hour wait in an ER waiting room jam-packed with people who were each worse off than their neighbour. .

I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. I’m sad this has happened to him, but happy because it could have been worse. That day, despite our exhaustion, our marriage became even more meaningful.

I imagine that this was a sign from God (or from “life” for atheists, or the “universal energy” for readers of The Secret—Oh, I’m hilarious!), telling us to focus on what’s truly important. And, ironically, it was a blessing, in some ways.

Our lives changed, and Three Times a Day took on a whole new meaning for us.

Here’s the very first meal I made for him after the diagnosis. I served it with chicken. 

  • ServesServes 4–6
  • Prep time10 min
  • Cook time45 min
  • Timeout-
  • FreezingNe se congèle pas.


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
    Replacement options

    or olive oil

  • 1 cup Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • White part of a leek, chopped
  • 1 bulb fennel, cut into thin rounds
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup barley
  • 3 cups (1 can) whole tomatoes, crushed
  • 3 1/2 cups (1 carton) vegetable broth
    Replacement options

    or chicken broth

  • 1/2 cup frozen edamame
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • handful fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2-1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a pot and soften the onion, leek, fennel, and celery for 5 minutes. Season, add the garlic, and cook for 2 more minutes.
  2. Add the barley, mix well, and add the tomatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the broth and let simmer gently for 30 minutes or until the barley is cooked. Season.
  4. Add the edamame, spinach, basil, and Parmesan. Season generously and cook for 5 more minutes or until the spinach is soft.
  5. Adjust the seasoning and serve alongside a meat or fish dish. 
Recipe published on August 19, 2018