Like rice, barley can be cooked as fluffy, separate kernels, or made risotto-style, as in this delicious dish – gently and steadily stirred with liquid to produce a smooth, creamy texture.
Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.
*This recipe is also great made with long-grain brown rice instead of barley.
*Flavour the pilaf with other dried herbs such as basil and oregano. Substitute ¾ tsp of each of these for the sage and the thyme.
Barley is abundant with lignans, which are phytochemicals that help lower cholesterol. The plant sterols found in barley may also assist in reducing total and LDL cholesterol. Barley is also rich in selenium and vitamin E.