Toothsome and satisfying, pearled barley makes a fantastic palette for a variety of roasted vegetables in this delicious grain salad. Served warm or cool, it's the perfect side for grilled meat or fish. It's equally great as part of an entree salad, served atop field greens with avocado and goat cheese.
On the Holiday Table: Barley is ideal for the harvest holiday of Shavuot -- it's one of the Seven Species of Israel, and its harvest features prominently in The Book of Ruth, which is read during the holiday. Dairy menus are traditional for Shavuot, so start with a Romaine Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pecans. Pair the barley with Indian-Spiced Salmon and steamed asparagus or Curry Roasted Cauliflower. For dessert, think cheesecake, or Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.
Nutrition Tip: Although pearled barley isn't considered a whole grain, it's still quite nutritious and fiber-rich, and it cooks quickly, too. If you'd prefer a truly whole grain option, try hull-less barley -- which grows in a loose hull that falls off during harvesting, but still retains the nutritious bran and germ -- instead. Hull-less barley takes a bit longer to cook than pearled barley; follow package directions to find the cook time. Bob's Red Mill is a good source for both pearl and hull-less barley.
- For the Salad:
- 3 cups water
- 1 pint grape tomatoes (or cherry, halved lengthwise if large)
- 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 1 1/2 cups pearled barley
- For the Dressing:
- 1/3 cup lemon juice (fresh)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (sea or kosher)
- Garnish: 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1. Preheat the oven to 425° F (220° C). Place the tomatoes, corn kernels, and pepper in individual baking dishes just large enough to hold each in a single layer. Drizzle the vegetables with a little olive oil and stir to coat. Place the dishes in the preheated oven and roast the vegetables, stirring once or twice, until the tomatoes start to burst and release their juices, and the corn and pepper skin begins to caramelize, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove the vegetables from the oven, and set aside to cool slightly. When the pepper is cool enough to handle, remove the peel, core, and seeds, and chop it into 1/4" pieces.
2. While the vegetables are roasting, make the barley: Place the barley in a mesh strainer and rinse under cool running water until the water runs clear. Place the barley and 3 cups (750 ml) of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until the barley is tender but still al dente, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the barley, rinse briefly under cool running water, and place in a large bowl.
3. Add the tomatoes, along with any of the juices they released, to the barley. Stir in the corn kernels and chopped pepper.
4. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Pour over the salad and mix to coat the grains and vegetables evenly. If desired, fold in the basil. Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!