Barley Bowls with Asparagus and Cannellini Beans

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This hearty grain bowl is packed with flavorful veggies and protein. The combo of fresh spring asparagus and the herby dressing makes this a perfect spring meal.

Looking for a healthy way to use up that fresh, spring asparagus? This protein packed grain bowl is perfect for you! It combines asparagus with high fiber barley and protein rich eggs and cannellini beans, topped with a drizzle of flavorful herby yogurt dressing. This grain bowl will fill you up without weighing you down.

Is This Recipe Gluten Free?

Barley is a whole grain that contains gluten, however, you can swap it out for some brown rice for a gluten free alternative.

Can I Make This Recipe Vegan?

Sure! You can easily omit the egg from this meal. And, you can substitute your favorite plant-based plain yogurt or sour cream for the Greek yogurt in the dressing. If you do, you may want to add a tsp or two of nutritional yeast to the dressing to bring more richness to it.

Is This Recipe Good for Meal Prep?

You can definitely prep this in advance for lunches or quick dinners. You'll want to store the egg (if using) and dressing separately from the rest of the bowl components. If you're using soft boiled egg, don't peel it until your ready to eat it. To reheat your egg (peeled soft boiled or poached), gently slip it into a mug hot water for a few minutes,  remove it and place it on top of your reheated bowl, then top with the dressing.

Barley Bowls with Asparagus and Cannellini Beans

Barley Bowls with Asparagus and Cannellini Beans

Prep Time:
20 min
Cook Time:
30 min
Total Time:
50 min
Equipment Needed

For the Bowls:

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained OR 1.5 cups of home cooked beans
  • 1 lb of thin asparagus spears, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds or toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 4 soft boiled or poached eggs

For the Dressing:

  • 1 cup plain, fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3 - 4 tbsp milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring 3 cups of salted water to a boil. Stir in the barley, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, for 25-30 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Set aside.
  2. Heat a small drizzle of olive oil in a medium sized pan. Add the asparagus and and cook, stirring occasionally, until crunchy-tender, about 6-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then remove from pan and set aside, covered/
  3. Add another small drizzle of oil to the pan and return to heat. Add in the beans along with the cumin, coriander, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring, until beans are heated.
  4. Make the yogurt sauce by placing the first 7 ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add in enough milk to make the dressing a good drizzling consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  5. Divide the barley between 4 bowls, then top with the asparagus, beans, and the egg. Drizzle with the dressing, then sprinkle the seeds on top. Serve immediately.
Recipe Tips
  • Never poached or soft boiled an egg before? The Internet is full of helpful tips for poaching and soft boiling eggs.
  • You can really use any kind of fresh herbs that you want in the dressing, just make sure you end up with 1 cup total.
  • Swap the barley with brown rice to make this bowl gluten free.
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