Black Lentil and Barley Bowl

April 22, 2016

Black Lentil and Barley Bowl with Roasted Radishes and Arugula | Fake Food Free

Back in February, I attended a workshop with the food styling and food photography greats, Adam Pearson and Matt Armendariz. The course taught me so much about the art of working with food, but what was more unexpected was that it gave me some new inspiration for everyday cooking. 

For one of the shoots, we prepared grain bowls with all kinds of good stuff like whole grains, lentils, nuts and roasted veggies. It was a build your own kind of thing for photographing. We never actually ate them.

I left that weekend thinking — I am so hungry for a grain bowl! 

A delicious bowl of black lentils, barley, arugula and roasted Easter radishes | Fake Food Free

The inspiration came at the perfect time because, while I love my green salads for lunch, I was needing some variety. So whole grain and lentil bowls have made their way back to my menu. I now regret that they ever left. 

Black lentils and barley bowl with arugula and roasted radishes | Fake Food Free

Most recently I teamed black lentils up with barley and roasted radishes. I also stirred in my very favorite green, arugula, because I can’t have a lunch completely void of greens. It’s all tossed in an easy balsamic vinaigrette. 

Spicy arugula for black lentil and barley bowls | Fake Food Free

I found some Easter radishes at Whole Foods and they made the perfect addition to the bowl. I can’t get enough of the colors. I added some roasted onion, too. To roast, I just throw both on a baking sheet and bake them together for 10 to 15 minutes. Just enough to soften them and add some caramelized flavors. 

Roasted onion and Easter radishes for black lentil and barley bowls | Fake Food Free

I know it looks a bit fancy arranged in the bowl, but to eat it, simply toss it all together in the vinaigrette and slice the radishes as you go. I usually enjoy this warm, soon after cooking the grains and lentils, but it’s delicious as a cold grain salad, too. 

Black lentils and barley bowl tossed with arugula and a balsamic vinaigrette | Fake Food Free

This bowl has opened the flood gates for many more combinations, especially for cold versions as we move into summer! Since I can think of few things better than meals in a bowl, more recipes with ingredients from the best produce season of the year are coming soon. 


Black Lentil and Barley Bowls

Makes: 2 servings



1 bunch Easter radishes, trimmed
3/4 cup sliced onion
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon fine ground sea salt
1 1/2 cups cooked barley
1 cup cooked black lentils
1 cup arugula 
2 tablespoons chopped raw or toasted walnuts

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon fine ground sea salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper



Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the radishes and onions on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables shrink slightly and become tender. Stir once during baking for even browning. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the 1/4 teaspoon of salt. 

To make each serving, arrange 3/4 cup of barley and 1/2 cup of lentils in a bowl. Add half of the onions and radishes. Top with a 1/2 cup of the arugula leaves. Finally sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of walnuts.  

In a small bowl, whisk together the 1/4 cup of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey until blended and smooth. Whisk in the salt and pepper. Drizzle each bowl with half of the dressing and serve. 



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