Sure, sure, you know February is the month that points Cupid’s arrow toward love, but it celebrates hearts in another way and we bet you didn’t even know it: It’s called Heart Health Month. Coincidence? Probably not. And while cupid focuses on the lovely dovey stuff, we’re turning your attention to the other form of heart health in a single grain of barley. How magical is the little kernel? Well, it’s proven to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. And it’s effects on love? It does absolutely nothing for it. Psych! But to be sure, try some barley recipes this February and keep us posted on how it affects your libido. And we do mean in forms other than beer.
1. Pearl Barley, Almond Milk Porridge, + Spiced Poached Pears: Is it breakfast or dessert? We’ll leave it up to you to decide. Barley plumped with almond milk and scented with coconut, dried cherries, and almonds not to mention the pièce de rèsistance — decadently spiced, poached pears. (via Kid Spot)
2. California Barley Bowl: If you’re looking for a hearty, non-sugary breakfast solution, here you have it. Don’t forget to scent the yogurt with lemon as it pairs well with the buttery avocado. (via Naturally Ella)
4. Maple Syrup Glazed Barley and Squash Cupcakes: Bite-sized and to die for, these glazed barley-and-squash cakes kind of take the cake. You will need a muffin tin, and get this, black tea. It’s part of the glaze. But like for realz. (via Pots and Pans)
5. Barley Salad with Chicken and Corn: Simple, hearty, and healthy, this salad is a keeper for showers, parties, and potlucks. We think it’d taste great in the peak of summer with fresh sweet corn. (via Martha Stewart)
9. Kale, Pearled Barley, + Faux Roe Stack with Sweet Soy Glaze: If you’re looking for wow factor, here you have it. A lovely construction that pleases the eye and the belly. PS. That is not caviar. It’s beet-stained amaranth. Magic. (via Olives for Dinner)
10. Mushroom-Barley Burgers with Sage: Everybody loves a burger now and then. Mushrooms lend texture and flavor in this veggie-style burger. Slice up some fresh cucumber, lettuce, and red onion for toppings. (via Shape)
11. Rum Citrus Chicken Kabobs with Stir Fried Barley: Who doesn’t enjoy food on a stick? It basically spells party, which may be what you’ll be doing with the leftover rum. Enjoy these festive kabobs on a bed of barley stir fry. (via Lemons & Anchovies)
12. Vegetarian Barley Stuffed Squash: Brussels sprouts, carrots, broccolini, cremini mushrooms, and spinach –– throw some barley into the mix, bake inside the shell of an acorn squash, and you’ve got dinner. (via Little Leopard Book)
15. Grilled Steak with Barley Salad: Try this one out on your steak-and-potatoes lover and you may take them by pleasant surprise. Steak, grilled to perfection, accented with barley, mushrooms, spinach, carrot, and flavored with a lemon, dijon vinaigrette. (via Food Network)
17. Pan-Seared Quail and Red Wine Risotto: Get a load of those legs. Like the first act, this quail dish grabs attention. Lush and decadent, we suggest serving this dish for Valentine’s day. (via 37 Cooks)
19. Creamed Pearls: Think tapioca or rice pudding but insert barley on the taste-buds instead. The nutty taste and creamy texture of barley are scented with vanilla and cardamom, then doused with a vibrant, green crunch of chopped pistachios. We say delish. (via Lady and Pups)
20. No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles: Nothing says I love you like chocolate! These decadent truffles use barley flour in their batter, and you did read that correctly: No bake! (via Joseph’s Grainery)
Share your heart-healthy barley recipes with us in the comments below!