1 cup pearled, hulled, or hull-less barley
8 cups vegetable broth
Butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1/2 bunch spinach, thick stems removed (about 2 cups)
1/2 bunch parsley, thick stems removed (about 1 cup)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon or regular lemon juice
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/3 cup minced garlic scapes
Preheat oven to 350°F and toast barley on a baking sheet until golden brown and aromatic (about 10 minutes)
Heat broth in a saucepan on stove and keep warm.
Heat a large shallow saucepan (or deep skillet) over medium heat, adding oil and minced onion. Cook until onion is transparent.
Add barley and 2 cups broth to saucepan. Bring to a boil, stir, then reduce heat to simmer until broth is absorbed.
Keep adding broth in 1/2 cup increments, making sure it’s absorbed before adding more. This can take between 30-50 minutes. Stir very often or constantly (if you have the patience).
Immerse spinach and parsley in boiling water for 5 seconds; remove and drain. (Doing so keeps the bright green color.)
Coarsely chop spinach and parsley, then purée with oil and a splash of water in a blender.
Add lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a handful of garlic scapes to the barley mixture.
Remove from heat and mix in the spinach and parsley mixture.
Top with Parmesan if desired!