Asparagus and Ancient Grains

Happy summer lovelies! Are you all sweating your buns off like we are here in Columbus?!   We worked an Art Crawl in our neighborhood this weekend and I was embarrassed at how much sweat was pouring from every crevice of my body. Sorry for that visual… Good news is today’s recipe can be served hot OR cold! Aka Asparagus and Ancient Grains might just become your new daily dinner!


I’m going to be brief today because A.) I was too hungover tired this weekend to type up this post and B.) I’ve been a busy bee around the house as we get ready for a long weekend beach trip.


I made this dinner with pearled barley, which has an almost risotto-like creaminess to it. Next time I would definitely use a chewier, less creamy grain like faro or wheat berries. But it would also be delicious with quinoa or other ancient grains.


Here are some fun ideas of grains you could swap in:

  • Farro
  • Wheat berries
  • Spelt berries
  • Freekeh
  • Quinoa
  • Einkorn
  • Buckwheat groats
  • Amaranth
  • Teff

With all of those possibilities, you could go in a lot of different directions! You’ll usually find these grains in the “healthy” section of your grocery store. Or, if you don’t want to buy a whole bag, try a store that has bulk bins so you can just get a cup or so. Either way, I challenge you to try a grain you’ve never cooked with before! You might just surprise yourself!


Asparagus and Ancient Grains

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings

Asparagus and Ancient Grains make for a hearty yet fresh summer dinner! I challenge you to try a grain you’ve never used before!


  • 1 cup grains (see list above)
  • 2-3 cups of water (depending on the grain)
  • 2 spring red onions or shallots
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus
  • ¼ cup craisins
  • 1/3 cup pistacios
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • 1 cup arugula
  • ½ tsp. salt and pepper


  1. Cook grain according to package (or Google) directions. My pearled barley took 2 cups of water and 45 minutes of simmering.
  2. Slice onions into thin pieces and asparagus into bite-sized pieces. Add them to a pan heated over medium with a splash of olive oil. Sautee for 5 minutes, until just softened.
  3. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper, set aside.
  4. When grains are cooked and vegetables are softened, add all ingredients into a large bowl. Pour the dressing over and toss to combine. The heat from the warm ingredients will lightly wilt the arugula. Enjoy!

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