All-in-one jewelled pearl barley with squash, pomegranate, watercress and vegan feta

(adapted from The Green Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer)

Prep time: 1 hr (15 minutes prep, tops)
Serves: 2-4
Allergens: cereal (barley), seeds (sunflower)


  • 600g whole or chopped (I used chopped) butternut squash (or other squash/pumpkin, or sweet potato)

  • Handful of pumpkin or sunflower seeds

  • Sea salt

  • 300g pearl barley

  • 700ml veg stock (made with 1 stock cube)

  • 2 cloves garlic or 2 tsp garlic puree (I used puree)

  • 1 bag watercress (or rocket, spinach, etc)

  • 1 tbsp lime juice

  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 100g vegan feta/halloumi (such as violife)

  • Seeds from 1 pomegranate (or a small tub of seeds, or goji berries)

  • Black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 200c Fan/ 220c non-fan/ Gas 7.

  2. Either chop the butternut squash into smallish (2cm) cubes, or cut to the chase and use 2 bags of pre-chopped. Put them in the roasting dish, along with the seeds, a few grindings/pinches of salt, the pearl barley, the stock (already boiling hot), and the garlic. Give it all a good, but gentle stir (unless you want to cover the worktop in barley and stock, in which case, knock yourself out), and cover tightly with foil and cook in the oven for 50 mins.

  3. Meanwhile, chop the feta into small chunks and put aside. Mix the lime juice and oil and put aside. Chop the watercress up a bit and put aside. Take all your cares and worries, and put aside (just for a while) and spend the rest of the cooking time doing something nice. No hoovering. Don’t make anyone’s packed lunch. Not now.

  4. When the timer for 50 mins goes, sigh, and then take out the tray, remove the foil and scatter over the oil/lime mixture and give it a stir, then sprinkle over the vegan cheese. Cover again and back she goes into the oven for 10 more minutes. Tell someone to lay the table. Tell someone else to do the washing up. You’ve cooked, so these tasks are not your problem.

  5. When the 10 minute timer goes, take the tray back out of the oven. Remove the foil, scatter over most of the watercress and most of the pomegranate seeds. Mix them in, then top with the remaining seeds and watercress. Boom!