Barley, Beans and Greens
First, the inspiration for this post came from the latest episode of the Trim Healthy Mama Podcasts. The authors of the Trim Healthy Mama Plan, Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison, have dubbed these podcasts “The Poddys”. They are are broadcasted every Wednesday at 6 am and are easily accessible through a smart phone or a computer. And, you don’t have to listen at 6 am; you can listen any time of the day! The latest poddy was entitled “Our Top 10 least expensive foods that will make you trim and healthy!”
I do have a love affair with barley. It’s so gentle on my blood sugar, absorbs surrounding flavors and it is inexpensive to use. It’s so easy to cook in your Instant Pot. I prefer either hulled barley or hull-less barley but they can be difficult to find and are often a bit more pricey. Pearl barley does lack some of the nutrition but it’s still healthy and it can be purchased in bulk food stores for roughly $1.15 -1.25 per pound which makes it truly budget friendly.
Swiss Chard is a Healthy Green!
Greens are important part of a healthy diet but they are also so inexpensive in the spring and summer. I chose Swiss Chard for this dish because it’s a soft and nutritious dark, leafy green. Swiss chard has an impressive phytonutrients profile, which are a source of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and whole body benefits.
Swiss chard is very low in calories, only about 19 calories per 100 grams of fresh, raw leaves. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C, its fresh leaves providing about 33 percent of recommended levels per 100 grams. There is a link to the regular consumption of C-rich foods to the maintenance of normal connective tissue, prevention of iron deficiency, and boosting immunity.
Swiss chard is also a recommended source of vitamin K, omega-3 fats, vitamin A, and flavonoid antioxidants such as beta carotene, alpha carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. It can also be counted on to provide B-vitamins such as folate, niacin, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid, which are all essential for cellular metabolism to function optimally. It also has copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Potassium is considered the “good salt” and has made headlines for its role in helping lower blood pressure, while iron is required for
cellular oxidation and the formation of red blood cells.
Just a Few More Ingredients
Beans are so budget friendly and are high in protein. Multicolored bell peppers make this dish special because they are so pretty, colorful, and packed with Vitamin C. Color is flavor, nutrition and visual appeal! The seasonings used are staples in almost everyone’s cupboard and please don’t be afraid to switch up your herbs and spices.
Tools and Appliances
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- 1 cup barley, pearled
- 2½ cups chicken broth (low sodium, low fat)
- 2 cups bell peppers (red, green, yellow or orange, small dice)
- ½ teaspoon organic garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon organic onion powder
- 1 teaspoon organic dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon organic red pepper flakes
- 3 cups Swiss chard leaves (leaves only,coarsely chopped)
- 1 can great northern beans, canned (rinsed and drained)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes (quartered (optional))
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, sliced into thin shreds (optional))
- Place chicken broth on your Instant Pot liner, add barley, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and dried basil.
- Place the liner in your pot, cover, lock and set to sealing. Set using [Multigrain] button, reduce time to 18 minutes, NPR (natural pressure release).
- While your barley is cooking dice the peppers and chop Swiss Chard, leaves only. (You can substitute spinach or beet greens.)
- When the pressure pin has dropped, open the pressure release to insure there is no residual pressure in your pot. Quickly add your diced peppers, chopped greens, tomatoes (optional) and fresh basil (optional); give a quick stir and replace the top on the top and let sit for 5 minutes on the warming cycle. Serve with a lean protein.