Vegan Valentine’s – Hummus and Pearl Barley Bowls

Hummus aand pearly barley bowls with butternut squash, pomegranate and spices 1

So what are you cooking for bae this valentines day?  Or–what is bae cooking for you? If you’re struggling with thinking of some plant-based, vegan valentines ideas, I’ve got just the thing for you!

Enter: Vegan Valentine’s!

This is a little series I will be running, with a few amazing, scrummy recipes for you this valentines day. Or, hey, even this palentines day, which is a word I invented if you want to spend the day with great pals. As a fun little project, each of these recipes will feature one or more aphrodisiac foods. Not because I really believe there is such a thing, but because I thought it would be a great way for me to think a little out of the box and use a combination of ingredients that I wouldn’t think of normally.

Sounds good?

Great! (I am assuming you agreed, because who doesn’t like delicious vegan food?)

For the first recipe in my VEGAN VALENTINE’S series…

Hummus aand pearly barley bowls with butternut squash, pomegranate and spices 3

Sesame-roasted butternut squash and pearl barley over a bed of creamy-dreamy hummus. And pomegranate seeds, to add a little freshness.

Peeling a pomegrante

Side note- I think I have hacked how to open a pomegranate! Okay, I didn’t think of it myself. I found a video. Finding a video seems to be the way I figure out life nowadays. So, if you’re planning on peeling your own pomegranate instead of buying the pre-peeled seeds (£1.50 for 60 grams of seeds?!? No thank you), watch this video. I peeled mine wearing a WHITE jumper, and I was pomegranate splatter-free. A miracle!

Pomegranate close up

I used the ‘aphrodisiacs’ pomegranate and garlic in this little recipe. Note my use of the quotation marks.

Oh, garlic

Now, I love me some garlic. I eat A LOT of garlic. Some would say I eat TOO MUCH garlic (no such thing). But why is garlic considered an aphrodisiac? Why!?! I’ve got two words. Garlic Breath.

But according to Marie Claire, the source all scientifically-backed information (I joke), garlic gets you in the mood. And I can’t argue with Marie Claire. Spoken like a girl who really didn’t spend the whole of 2017 on PubMed reading nature articles on how babies learn a language…

If you, like me, love a lot of garlic, try this shiitake walnut pate out. It’s full of garlicy goodness, it’s velvety and oh-so-umami. It’s a bit of a ‘The Sasha Diaries’ throwback, but it’s still a good one!

Hummus aand pearly barley bowls with butternut squash, pomegranate and spices 2

Why Aquafaba?

I always use aquafaba (a.k.a. that viscous liquid you always chuck away from a can of chickpeas) to blend my hummus instead of oil. Why? Well, I don’t own much quality olive oil, and using 1/3 to 1/2 a cup every time I make hummus (which is all the time) is something I can’t quite afford. Aquafaba makes it super creamy and that way you can reserve the good stuff for drizzling on top, the way they do it traditionally!

So, give this recipe a go. It serves about 2, but if you’re having a palentines party just double the recipe to make it more of a pot-luck dish.  It’s got a great hummus to veggie ratio (i.e. a lot of hummus per person), which to be honest, is the way forward. Who really adheres to a quarter of a tesco pot of hummus? I eat the whole damn thing.

Watch this space for more Vegan Valentine’s xx

Hummus and Pearl Barley Bowls
Prep time
Cook time
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This valentines day, impress your honey (or pal!) with this hummus and pearl barley bowl, topped with roasted sesame butternut squash and pomegranate seeds!
Recipe type: Vegan
Serves: 2
  • ½ medium butternut squash, peeled and sliced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved
  • ⅓ cup aquafaba (liquid from chickpeas)*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • ½ cup pearl barley, uncooked
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  1. First, roast the squash. Preheat the oven to 200C. Next, slice the peeled and deseed squash into 1-cm thick slices. Toss them in a bowl with the sesame seeds, cumin, paprika, vinegar and a generous pinch of salt. Finally, lay them out on a tray and bake for 18-20 minutes, until fork-tender.
  2. Now place the chickpeas, aquafaba, salt, garlic cloves, cumin, lemon juice and tahini in a food processor and blend until smooth and very creamy. Set this aside for now.
  3. Next, place the pearl barley in a pot of boiling water and boil for 10 minutes, until cooked but still with a slight chew. Drain and set this aside.
  4. Now it is time to temper the spices, heat your oil in a small saucepan over medium heat, and fry the cumin and coriander seeds for 10-20 seconds until they start to pop. Pour this out onto a plate to cool so it doesn't cook further in the pan. We don't want burnt spices!
  5. To assemble your bowls, divide the hummus between two plates and spread it out with a spoon. Lay the butternut squash slices over, and pour the cooked pearl barley over. Take the tempered spices and oil and pour this over the pearl barley. Finally, garnish with pomegranate seeds and (if you can stand it) coriander.
*You can use oil instead, but I prefer to use aquafaba as it makes it really smooth, and you will already have some from the can of chickpeas!

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8 thoughts on “Vegan Valentine’s – Hummus and Pearl Barley Bowls

  1. Woah, this looks so amazing and healthful! I enjoy making homemade hummus, but I definitely need to step up my game with this recipe. The pomegranates are just gorgeous.

    1. heheh hummus really is the best, isn’t it! I got so lucky with this pomegranate! It was absolutely beautiful and so sweet <3

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