The bright beetroot barley side dish


Ancient grains are gaining popularity for a good reason: they’re offering essential vitamins and minerals that support your overall health and are easily incorporated in everyday meals. The barley that we used for this recipe is often used in soups and stews, and can also be used as a substitute for rice with your favorite curry.

Barley is a good source of fibre, and associated with heart health benefits as it could lower LDL cholesterol levels in your blood, and raise the good HDL levels. It also provides selenium, which is an essential mineral for your immune system, and in particular your thyroid functioning. On top of that it has great flavour and it’s cheap, so all the more reason to share this recipe to enjoy barley more frequently as part of your meals.

Sous Vide Venison

In the picture this Beetroot Barley was served as a side dish with venison, which was cooked sous vide for a perfect tender medium rare result. Sous vide cooking is a great technique to ensure you get a perfectly cooked result every time, as you can control the temperature better than any other cooking technique. Restaurants have been using this technique for many years, and with a sous vide immersion circulator you now easily setup a sous vide bath at home. Depending on the meat and your preference of rare, medium rare, medium, etc, you heat the water bath to the desired temperature, and leave the meat packed in a vacuum bag in the water bath to cook. After it's cooked, you simply finish it either on the braai over high heat or on a cast iron skillet to create a flavourful crust without cooking the meat further. The result is that the meat is completely cooked at your desired level. Where normally meat is cooked for example medium-rare in the centre, the edges will have cooked slightly further. As the picture shows, this is not the case with sous vide cooking where the full cut is cooked medium rare.

Home chefs love sous vide cooking as suddenly it's a lot easier to cook any kind of meat and be assured it's perfectly cooked. Sous vide cooking takes the guess work out of cooking meat, making it possible to cook restaurant-level meals at home. Find the full recipe for this sous vide Eland sirloin here.

The beetroot juice that we’re using to cook this Beetroot Barley, can also be enjoyed on its own as a juice, or in any other recipe that calls for beetroot juice. We’ve added a touch of ginger to enhance the flavours in this recipe, but if you’re not a fan of ginger you can leave it out.




  • 300gr beetroot (raw, peeled & quartered)
  • 1 knob / 5-8gr fresh ginger (peeled)
  • ½ C water



Add all ingredients to your OmniBlend jug, and blend on high speed for 60-90 seconds. Pour the juice into a sieve over a large enough bowl to catch the juice and filter out the fibre. The fibre can be used in other recipes, so don’t throw it away (find some ideas to use this beetroot pulp at the end of this post). Use a spoon to press as much liquid as possible out of the pulp. This quantity works out perfectly for this Beetroot Barley recipe, and you can double it if you plan to cook a larger portion of barley or want to keep some to drink later.




  • 150gr Pearl Barley
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin, freshly ground
  • 1 C (and a bit) beetroot juice
  • Salt



Preheat the oven at 160C degrees. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in an oven proof pot (for which you have a lid). On lmedium heat sauté the onion in about 7 minutes, and then add the cumin (add a little more olive oil if too dry). Stir and cook for a minute. Add the barley and stir again until well coated. Add the beetroot juice and salt (to taste) and stir, while bringing to a simmer. Add the lid and place in the oven. Cook for 30-35 min.


Beetroot leftovers

The pulp that you kept aside after juicing the beetroot, is delicious stirred into a warm bowl of oats, with a tablespoon of cocoa. The flavours of oats, beetroot and cocoa create a delicious winter breakfast. Add some honey and granola to make it complete feast.

The pulp can also be used in a smoothie, or add it to a vegetarian burger for flavour and fibre.


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