Roasted butternut with tomatoey barley

Barley keeps absorbing liquid so it’s best to serve this immediately. But if you want it more saucy, reheat and add stock.

More than 1 hour

Serves 4-6

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  • 3-4 (about 1kg) small butternuts, halved and deseeded
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) olive or canola oil
  • Salt and milled pepper 
  • 1 large onion, chopped 
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped 
  • 2 sprigs rosemary and/ or 5 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
  • 2 salad tomatoes, grated
  • 1 large packet (100g) tomato paste
  • 2 cups (500ml) pearl barley (or wholegrain of choice)
  • ⅓ cup (80ml) red wine (optional)
  • 2 tsp (10ml) smoked or regular paprika
  • 1 tsp (5ml) black mustard seeds
  • 4 cups (1L) vegetable stock
  • Handful pumpkin seeds, for serving 
  • Handful baby spinach and/or rocket, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. 
  2. Score necks of butternuts – this will ensure even cooking. 
  3. Place on a roasting tray, cut-side up, drizzle with half the oil and season. 
  4. Roast butternuts for 40-50 minutes or until tender and caramelised. 
  5. Heat remaining oil in a pot. 
  6. Sauté onion for 8-10 minutes.
  7. Add garlic and fry for another minute.
  8. Add herbs, grated tomato, tomato paste and barley and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  9. Stir though wine, if using, and allow to reduce slightly.
  10. Add in paprika, mustard seeds and stock. 
  11. Season well. 
  12. Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until barley is tender, stirring regularly. 
  13. Spoon barley into butternuts, sprinkle with pumpkin seeds and top with baby spinach/rocket just before serving.


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