Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus, Barley Risotto & Sautéed Garlicky Rainbow Chard

picisto-20130808123419-418938A few weeks ago I was on a shoot with the healthiest catering I think I have ever experienced in my 20+ years of modeling. Thankfully, I never forget a dish or flavor. So tonight I’ve recreated one of the delicious sides. I adore hummus. The taste, texture and simplicity of it. It’s actually quite versatile, you can keep it original with chick peas and cumin, or you can be as creative as you like. This version is with roasted sweet potato, tahini, garlic, lemon and smoked paprika. Mmmm…

I’ve also made a healthier version of Risotto, another fav, using high fibre, high protein, Barley instead of rice. Balanced out with some sautéed super greens: Rainbow Chard.

This takes about 30 minutes to make, all you need is a mini prep or hand blender. Feeds 2 people.



  • 2 large sweet potato
  • 1 bunch of rainbow chard (or swiss chard or kale)
  • 1 cup of barley
  • 2 tbsp of pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese (or any hard cheese you like- 1/4 for the sweet potato humus and 1/4 for the risotto)
  • juice of 1 lemon (divided between the humus and rainbow chard)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • vegetable stock (homemade or cubes)
  • 2 tbsp tahini paste
  • 1 tsp each of cumin and smoked paprika
  • 1 pinch of fresh thyme, chopped
  • good quality sea salt & fresh cracked pepper



  1. Turn oven on to about 375˚F
  2. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into one inch pieces and rinse and drain. Place on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and S&P and bake for about 20 min.
  3. Rinse the barley and place in a pan with 2 cups of water/vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and then drop to a simmer, cook for about 25-30 min.
  4. Rinse and chop the rainbow chard, make sure to remove the stems as they are quite bitter in taste. NOTE: Rainbow chard is very strong in flavor, you could substitute with kale or even spinach if you prefer.
  5. In a pan over medium heat, toast the pumpkin seeds. Set aside.
  6. In the same pan, add the olive oil and once hot add in the chard. Sauté for about 3 min, then add in the chopped garlic for another 2 min.
  7. Add the chard into a dish and top with pumpkin seeds, drizzle of olive oil, s&p and lemon juice. Ready to serve.
  8. Once the sweet potato is cooked, remove it from the oven and add it to a mini food prep (or bowl so you can hand blend), then add in the garlic, tahini, smoked paprika, cumin, s&p, olive oil, lemon juice and grated parmesan (or leave out the cheese for a vegan option). Blend until smooth. Ready to serve.
  9. Once the barley has finished cooking and has absorbed the liquid you can add in your grated parmesan cheese, s&p, thyme and garlic. If you would like it creamy you can add a bit more water/vegetable stock. Ready to serve.

Plate up! Healthy and delicious! What a combo 🙂


Health Benefits of Barley

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Health Benefits

When the weather’s cold, a big pot of soup simmering on the stove warms the heart as well as the hearth. Adding some whole grain barley to the pot will improve your health along with the flavor of whatever soup or stew you’re cooking. In addition to its robust flavor, barley’s claim to nutritional fame is based on its being a very good source of fiber and selenium, and a good source of phosphorus, copper and manganese.

Barley’s Fiber for Regularity, Lower Cholesterol, & Intestinal Protection

Wish you were more regular? Let barley give your intestinal health a boost. In addition to providing bulk and decreasing the transit time of fecal matter, thus decreasing the risk of colon cancer and hemorrhoids, barley’s dietary fiber also provides food for the “friendly” bacteria in the large intestine. When these helpful bacteria ferment barley’s insoluble fiber, they produce a short-chain fatty acid called butyric acid, which serves as the primary fuel for the cells of the large intestine and helps maintain a healthy colon. These helpful bacteria also create two other short-chain fatty acids, propionic and acetic acid, which are used as fuel by the cells of the liver and muscles.

The propionic acid produced from barley’s insoluble fiber may also be partly responsible for the cholesterol-lowering properties of fiber. In animal studies, propionic acid has been shown to inhibit HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme involved in the production of cholesterol by the liver. By lowering the activity of this enzyme, propionic acid helps lower blood cholesterol levels. 



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