11 October 2015

Cheesy Zucchini & Broccoli Pearl Barley Bites

Today is my lazy day and by lazy I mean I don't have any obligations that mean I would have to leave the house and therefore I shall spend the whole day in pyjamas comfy clothes. I do however have a list of things to do around the house, like uni work, washing, cooking, cleaning etc, so this in reality isn't such a lazy day after all. With work and uni it feels like I haven't had a whole day to myself in forever and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm starting off the day by eating cinnamon spiced porridge in bed whilst drinking a cup of tea with some relaxing music on in the back ground and for now I'm just going to be. Sometimes life can move pretty fast and like Ferris Bueller said; "if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it".

The veg I used in this recipe I bought from a local farm through their veg box scheme, I've tried veg boxes before but have found that the food you order might not always be as local as you'd like and therefore isn't super fresh; this time all the veg came from one local, family run farm and was picked the same day as delivery, when it arrived I couldn't wait to start cooking and these little zucchini bites happened! Lately, as a nation we're all a bit more conscious of where our food is coming from and shopping from local farms whether at markets or through veg box schemes is not only a way to trace where your food is coming from, ensuring it's nice and fresh but also a way to support the community and local businesses. Fresher veg has also been shown to be higher in nutrients and in nutrient diversity than slightly older veg; so eating local, seasonal produce may actually have more benefits than just reducing the food miles. The older food gets, more of the nutrients are lost; after being picked fruit and veg continue to respire and this process means that the stored organic nutrients it contains are being broken down. This process is natural and isn't detrimental in terms of the goodness you'll receive from the plant you're consuming, it just means that there won't be as many vitamins and minerals in older plants than fresh ones.  Local food most often won't have been wrapped in plastic, which also reduces the effect of waste, so even if it's just one or two items at first, local food is better for you, the environment and the community, make the most of it!

This next recipe can be enjoyed as a snack/starter or as a main meal served up with salad, either way these cheesy zucchini & broccoli pearl barley bites will go down a treat! With flavours like fresh thyme and lemon juice contrasting against the creamy vegan cheese these little bites are packed with deliciousness and best of all, they're baked not fried! I served them up with a cayenne & tomato cashew dip which perfectly complimented their taste and texture - the bites themselves are slightly chewy from the pearl barley and crisp on the outside from baking; they're absolutely delicious! I used violife dairy free for this recipe, but simply pick your favourite dairy free cheese to include! Also, if you don't have a high speed blender, just sub the cashew nuts in the dip for vegan mayo instead.

Cheesy Zucchini & Broccoli Pearl Barley Bites | Yield: 12 | Time: 30 mins

You'll need

  • Baking tray 
  • Greaseproof paper
  • Frying pan
  • Ice cream scoop/ spoon
  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Blender/food processor (for the dip)
  • Fine grater


  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 small head broccoli / 
  • 1 small zucchini/courgette
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1/3 cup grated dairy free cheese (50g)
  • 2/3 cooked Pearl Barley
  • Salt & pepper

  • 1/4 cup cashew nuts/ vegan mayo
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • pinch salt
  • 1-2 tbsp water, if needed


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Finely chop the onion and add to the pan with a splash of oil, on a medium-low heat, then mince the garlic and chop the florets into small pieces, add both the garlic and broccoli pieces to the pan, including all the loose bits of floret on the chopping board. add the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, thyme leaves and a pinch of salt and pepper to the pan and fry on a low heat. Grate the courgette and also stir into the pan. 
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and add the pearl barley, cheese and flour and stir until well combined. Then, using an ice scream scoop, place a dollop of the mixture onto the baking tray and flatten slightly, then repeat this 11 more times. Place the baking tray in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown, the bites will firm up slightly as they cool down.
  4. To make the dip place all the ingredients in the blender and blitz until smooth - if using the vegan mayo, simply mix in a small bowl.
  5. Serve the bites up with the dip and enjoy! 
Cassidy xx

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