I decided one day that barley goes really nicely with melted cheese. Given that it’s fall and squash is in season, I thought it would be a nice idea to create a dish with squash and barley and cheese all together as one happy family!
This recipe is basically mac n’ cheese where the macaroni is replaced with high-fibre healthy goodness ie. squash, barley and red kidney beans. So at least you can feel a little less guilty when chowing down on the cheesy goodness.
- Freeze dish before baking if you want to eat it at a later date
- Try dividing into two smaller portions, one for the night of and one for later.
- Makes a great meal on its own, or a side dish.
Give this comfort dish a shot next time you want something warm and wholesome. You’d be surprised how satisfying all these healthy ingredients can be when you mix them with cheese!
Click here for printable Word version of recipe:
Cheesy Squash and Kidney Bean Bake
1 medium buttercup or butternut squash, cubed
1 can red kidney beans
2 cups cooked barley
2 tbsp butter
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 cups milk
2 tbsp flour
½ cup ricotta – substitute for more grated cheese
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated (1 cup for sauce, 1 cup for topping)
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup breadcrumbs
- Cook barley in advance
- Prepare squash. Peel, remove guts and seeds, and cut into bite sized pieces. Preheat oven to 375 F. Toss squash with olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes.
- Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat. Add onions, cook until onions soften. Add garlic and thyme. Add the flour, mix well and then stir in milk. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Simmer sauce until it thickens. Add 1 cup grated cheese and ricotta.
- Combine the squash, kidney beans, barley, and cheese sauce. Mix well and transfer to a casserole dish or baking pan. Sprinkle the top with remaining grated cheese, parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
- At 350 F, bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncovered for another 15 minutes.
Alternatively, you can make the dish and freeze before baking. I split the recipe in two, eating one and baking one portion the same day, and freezing the second for dinner at a later date.