I’m really on the one pan/skillet-style suppers lately! This vegan broccoli and barley dish has risotto-like qualities, but also a bit of a cheesy veggie mac feel too. Either way, it’s comforting, wholesome, and pretty simple to make. I personally love all of those things this time of year 🙂. I would serve this recipe with a simple green salad for a nice dinner, much like how I would serve this Creamy Lemon Orzo with Chickpeas & Broccoli.
The ingredient list for the sauce looks a bit long, but if you’ve cooked from my site before, you may have a lot of those pantry items on hand ready to go! The cheesy cashew sauce can be made up to 5 days in advance and kept in the fridge in a sealed container. To replace cashews in this creamy sauce, I recommend raw sunflower seeds, pine nuts, or macadamia nuts (macadamia nuts should be soaked for 8 hours before blending).
I start this recipe by making the super savoury sauce in the blender. A typical raw cashew base with lots of flavour from garlic, miso, nutritional yeast, spices, Dijon mustard, sautéed shallots, and a roasted red pepper. That gets set aside while we start building the broccoli, barley, and white bean base. Small pieces of broccoli are sautéed quickly and set aside.
Then I go with another shallot base! You can never have too many shallots in my opinion. I add the pearl barley and white beans for some extra protein, and then pour over the vegetable stock. We bring that to a boil and simmer until the pearl barley is tender, about 20 minutes. The key to the shorter cooking time is using pearl barley. Pearled or semi-pearled farro would also work in this recipe.
From here, everything gets stirred together and warmed through. Pretty simple! I like to garnish with a bit of chopped dill, chives, or parsley (whichever one I have on hand at the time).
For more pearl barley goodness, check out my Vegan Barley Risotto with Roasted Carrots. And for simple but glorious white beans check out my Brothy Beans.
Cheesy Vegan Broccoli & Barley with White Beans
Cheesy Cashew Red Pepper Sauce
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small shallot, small dice (about ¼ cup diced shallot)
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- ½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
- 1 roasted red pepper (from a jar is great!)
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 ½ tablespoons light miso
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Tamari soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup water
- hot sauce, to taste
Broccoli, Barley & White Beans
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 4 cups chopped broccoli (small pieces)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 large shallot, fine dice (about ½ cup diced shallot)
- clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 19-oz (591 ml) can white beans, drained and rinsed (2 ¼ cups cooked white beans)
- 5 cups vegetable stock
- handful chopped parsley, dill, or chives, for serving
- The pearl barley is key to achieving the quicker cooking time here. Pearled or semi-pearled farro would also work in its place.
- If you can’t have cashews, I recommend substituting with raw sunflower seeds, pine nuts, or raw macadamia nuts. Macadamia nuts will need 8 hours of soaking time.
- For an even simpler option, if you have access to non-dairy “cream” at your grocery store (I use this one often), you can replace the cashews and water in the cheesy sauce recipe with 1-1¼ cups of the “cream.”
- The cheesy sauce can be made and stored in the fridge up to 5 days in advance.
- If you need this to be gluten-free, I would recommend subbing the barley for plain white rice or arborio rice (same amount) and cutting the vegetable stock down to 4 cups. You might still need to add some splashes of stock to the finished dish, but starting at 4 cups is safest.
- Make the cheesy cashew red pepper sauce. Heat the teaspoon of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until just starting to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer the shallots and garlic to an upright blender. To the blender add the cashews, roasted red pepper, nutritional yeast, miso, lemon juice, Dijon, tamari, smoked paprika, water, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Blend the mixture on high until smooth and creamy, about 2 full minutes. Set aside.
- Start on the broccoli and barley. Set the pot back over medium heat. Pour in ½ tablespoon of olive oil and swirl it around. Add all the broccoli and stir. Season with the garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Sauté until broccoli is bright green and just starting to get tender at the stems, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the broccoli and place it on a plate to the side. It will continue to cook a bit and that's okay! Return the pot to the heat.
- Pour the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil in the pot and swirl it around. Add the shallots and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and dried thyme and sauté for another full minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add the barley and stir to coat in the oil and seasoning. Add the white beans stir again. Pour in all of the vegetable stock.
- Cover and bring the barley and bean mixture up to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and place a lid on top, slightly askew. Check in on the pot here and there. It should take about 30 minutes for the barley to become tender (but still with a bit of chew) and for most of the stock to be absorbed.
- Pour the cheesy cashew red pepper sauce into the pot of barley and stir to combine. Give it a taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Let it simmer for a couple minutes, stirring constantly. Add the sautéed broccoli to the pot and stir. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs and extra black pepper if you like.