Blood Orange-Braised Cabbage on Barley

Blood Orange-Braised Cabbage on Barley

By Sarah Britton/

Serves 3-4


1 cup / 200g lightly pearled or hulled barley
2 – 2 ½ cups water or broth
¼ tsp. sea salt

1 small head red cabbage (approx. 500g /1 lb.)
2 medium onions
4 cloves garlic
knob of coconut oil or ghee
½ tsp. sea salt
5 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. fennel seeds
½ Tbsp mustard seeds
2 whole star anise
black pepper
1 cup blood orange juice (from 3-4 oranges, any orange would be fine)
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 blood orange, segmented for garnish
olive oil to garnish
flat-leaf parsley (or mint), for garnish if desired



In a measuring cup, measure out 1 cup of barley, cover with water and rub grains together to wash. Drain and repeat until water is almost clear. Drain and place in a small saucepan with 2 cups water or broth and salt. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook until tender, about 40-50 minutes (if the liquid evaporates before the barley is cooked, add another half cup water). Remove from heat, let sit for a few minutes, then fluff with a fork.

While the barley is cooking, prepare all the vegetables. Slice the cabbage into thin ribbons, slice onions, mince garlic. Juice oranges, and segment one for garnish, set aside.

Heat a knob of coconut oil or ghee in a large stockpot. Add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds begin to pop, add fennel seeds, bay leaves, star anise, and a few grinds of black pepper. Let cook for about a minute. Add onions, stir to coat and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and cabbage, stir to coat and let sit on medium heat for a couple minutes to caramelize the vegetables.

Next add the apple cider vinegar and stir – this will deglaze the bottom of the pot. Pour in the orange juice, stir well. With the pot covered, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and let cook for 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is cooked to your liking (I prefer mine al dente, tender but with a slight crispness still left).

Section a blood orange for garnish, set aside. Roughly chop parsley.

To serve, place a helping of barley on each plate, followed by the braised cabbage, a few segments of blood orange, parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy warm, or folded together as a salad in the warmer months.

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