Braised Little Gem, courgette, beans and barley

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Braised Little Gem, courgette, beans and barley

Side Serves 2 35 min
Cooking with a lettuce may seem odd, but Little Gems are sweet, slightly bitter and robust enough to handle heat. They make a great side to simply cooked lamb or chicken, but this recipe can stand alone as a light vegan meal too, or add a little goat's or sheep's cheese for a vegetarian alternative.

Cook's notes

If you like, double pod the broad beans, removing the outer skins after boiling, to reveal the bright green inner bean within. A revelation for those who dislike the skins. The beans can be swapped for garden peas or sliced French or flat green beans.


  • 100g pearl barley
  • 500ml veg stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Little Gem lettuce
  • 250g broad beans, podded
  • Oil for frying
  • 2 courgettes, cut into thick slices or chunks
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 100ml white wine
  • ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper


Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 25 min
  • Step 1

    Put a small saucepan on to boil. Rinse the barley. Transfer to a separate saucepan, with the stock and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes, until tender. Add a dash of water if it looks like it might dry out.
  • Step 2

    Remove the very tip of the root from the lettuce, leaving enough to keep the whole head connected. Cut lengthways, into 10-12 wedges.
  • Step 3

    Boil the broad beans for 3 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water to cool.
  • Step 4

    Warm 2 tbsp oil in the same saucepan. Add the courgettes. Season with salt and pepper and fry over a medium heat for 5-6 minutes, until starting to soften.
  • Step 5

    Add the lettuce to the courgettes. Turn up the heat a little. Fry for 2 minutes to lightly wilt them. Add the garlic, broad beans and wine. Cook for 1 more minute, or until the wine reduces by half.
  • Step 6

    Drain the barley. Add it into the veg with the mustard. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

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