Our fridge is never totally empty. Even when you open it and it looks pretty bare, there is always cheese. And not just one kind of cheese. Not even 3 or 4. Usually there are at least 5 different types, and usually closer to 8 or 9. Some may call it a sickness, but I just call it normal.
Cheese makes everything better. Nothing to make but a boring ol’ chicken breast? Stuff it with goat cheese. Brown rice too plain for you? Add some gouda. Roasted veggies need a little oomph? Top with some pecorino.
Now, a problem arises when you open a bunch of cheese and there are only two people living under your roof, even if those two people consume copious amounts of cheese. So was the issue with this log of goat cheese in the fridge. It had to be eaten before we went out of town and since I had some extra fresh basil around, I decided to make a pesto. Rather than use the typical pine nuts, I opted for walnuts and voila, a new pesto was born.
We had eaten WAY too much pasta in the last couple weeks, so rather than use the pesto in pasta, I decided to use it on some barley. It’s no secret I love barley, and the fact that it’s so good for you doesn’t hurt, either. This was a great way to (forgive me for using this phrase) jazz up barley. The walnuts played well with the nuttiness of the barley, and basil & goat cheese are always a killer combo in my book. I added the sundried tomatoes for a little texture and color and am glad I did!
The nice thing about pesto, too, is that it can be eaten at pretty much any temperature and taste good. This is a great alternative to pasta or potato salad, especially for my fellow mayo-haters.
Barley with Goat Cheese-Walnut Pesto
Serves 4 as a side
Printer Friendly Recipe
1 cup pearled barley
1/4 cup walnuts
2 cloves garlic
2 cups fresh basil
2 oz. goat cheese
extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, drained
Cook the barley according to the package directions, using water or broth for the liquid (I actually used 2 parts water to one part broth).
Meanwhile, make the pesto. Heat a small pan over medium heat and then add the walnuts. Toss around a few times, toasting the walnuts, until you can smell them. Add the toasted walnuts to a food processor along with the garlic and pulse to combine. Add the basil, followed by the goat cheese. Slowly stream in the olive oil until you get the consistency you want. I didn’t make a loose pesto for this, because I wasn’t really going for a sauce or a dressing. I probably added about 1.5T. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the pesto and the sundried tomatoes to the cooked barley, stirring to combine and fully coat the barley.