Monday, July 22, 2013

Mediterranean Barley Salad

I created this salad last summer when I wanted something made with barley (had a diabetic visiting) and other delicious vegetables. I went with a Mediterranean flare and it worked. After several tweaks along the way, I think I have it the way I want it.

The salad is extremely versatile-- you can use it as a main dish or a side.  Eat it warm, room temp, or chilled.  Eat it in a bowl, in a pita, or on a plate.  It's quick and easy and tastes so fresh you'll be wishing you had an unlimited supply of it in your fridge (although, I will say, it does tend to taste better the next day).  

Bring it to your next picnic or BBQ and see how fast it disappears. This dish keeps for a couple days, so it's very easy to make ahead. It's also easy to prepare in steps.

We love eating this with a good green salad and a bowl-full of chilled purred vegetable soup.

Mediterranean Barley Salad
Serves 4-6 (7 cups)
Active time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Serving Suggestions: Serve with a summer gazpacho and garden salad.

What you'll need:

  • 1 cup pearled barley + 2 1/2 cups broth OR water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 TBLS balsamic vinegar
  • 2 TBLS olive oil  OR garbanzo liquid
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (about 20 leaves) OR 2 TBLS dry
  • 3/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 6 oz can pitted black olives, drained and sliced in half
  • 1 jarred red pepper, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Feta cheese crumbles (optional)

What you'll do:
  • Cook barley.
  • Meanwhile, puree garlic, vinegar, olive oil and tomatoes in a food processor to form a dressing.
  • When barley is done, transfer to a bowl and stir in dressing.
  • Stir in all other ingredients until evenly combined.
  • Sprinkle individual servings with feta if desired.

Time tip:
Cook barley ahead of time
Chop and dice everything while barley is cooking

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