Turmeric-roasted beets and butternut squash; ripe avocado; garlicky spinach; crunchy pepitas; and black garlic vinaigrette make for hearty and healthy winter roasted veggie barley bowls! Naturally soy-free, nut-free, vegan. Can be gluten-free with brown rice.
Rinse the pearl barley well. Combine the barley and water or broth in a saucepan with a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer, cover the pan, and cook until tender, stirring occasionally about 25 minutes. Add more liquid during cooking if needed, and drain any excess liquid after cooking is complete.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare two baking sheets or baking dishes. Add the cubed beets to one sheet and the cubed butternut squash to the other sheet. Divide the olive oil and ground turmeric approximately equally between them and sprinkle both generously with salt and pepper. Use your hands to evenly massage the oil mixture onto the veggies.
Roast both trays of veggies in the oven until tender, swapping their oven position after about 15-20 minutes. The butternut squash may be done in 25-35 minutes, while the beets may be done in 35-45 minutes. Your results may vary.
Note: it's best to cook the spinach when the other bowl components are already completed. Make sure your spinach is very dry. Use a salad spinner if you have one.
Heat a wok or your widest skillet over high heat. Give it a few minutes to really get hot. Add the oil to the pan and swirl it around to make an even coating. Add the garlic and salt, and cook it for about 30 seconds while stirring constantly.
Add all of the spinach to the pan, and continuously stir to mix it with the oil and garlic. Add your pinch of sugar if using. Continue to stir-fry just until the spinach has wilted but is still green. Remove it from the pan right away.
Divide the barley among 4 bowls. To each bowl, add about a quarter of the roasted vegetables and garlic spinach. Then add 1/4 of the avocado, 2 tbsp of pumpkin seeds, and finally, drizzle with the black garlic vinaigrette. Serve warm.
GLUTEN-FREE: Use brown rice instead of barley. Liquid needed and cooking time will differ.
VARIATIONS: Use other types of squash, or sweet potato, instead of butternut squash. Other roasted vegetables great in these bowls include sunchoke (Jerusalem artichoke), cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.
Other stir-fried vegetables in place of spinach could be snow peas, broccoli, bell peppers, or watercress.
Balsamic vinaigrette is a good replacement for the black garlic dressing.