{Tasty Tuesday} For Those Salad Days of Summer…

By: Janine Serio

barleysummersalad

Thought I would give today’s post a little lighter spin. Maybe it is because I need a little mental refresher (working on some BIG projects for all of YOU); or maybe it’s because a lot of cooking has been happening in “casa de Serio” – both literally and figuratively – and I, of course, wanted to share the wealth!

For sure the latter! 😉

As I have made mention to before, I can become quite the creature of habit, especially when it comes to my nutrition. I get into patterns of doing my protein smoothies or omelets in the morning, veggies and hummus or salad with a protein in the afternoon, and then, again, another lean protein, veggie, and salad for dinner.

Let’s be honest, there are only so many ways to cook chicken and dress up your salad, right? Don’t get me wrong, I have a love affair with both BUT, sometimes, you just want a little change.

When I came across this recent recipe in our local newspaper, not only did it sound AMAZING (which is funny because I don’t typically gravitate towards super starchy salads) but I felt it was just the thing to pull me our of my “double salad a day” rut.

If grains are something that you can tolerate, I would definitely recommend you giving this recipe a try. No only does barley have one of the highest percentages of that oh-so good for you fiber (hello 17%), it is extremely versatile and makes a great substitute for heavier pastas. This is KEY, especially during those hot and humid Summer months.

Additionally, it is a great way to jazz up salads and, even better, it can be served hot or cold.

The beauty about this dish is that you can make ahead. In fact, I would suggest since it not only helps to enhance the flavor but there is a bit a of prep work involved (trust me, it’s worth it).

While I have modified the original recipe a bit, feel free to add in some of your other favorite Summer vegetables such as zucchini or cucumbers!

While this salad pairs beautifully with just about any lean protein, the vibrance of the basil, parsley, and fresh mint just seemed to perfect to not pair with a light, white fish. Again, this is just my perspective but feel free to be creative.

Oh, and for my wine aficionados, a crisp white wine – preferably, an unoaked, steel-barreled Chardonnay – would be a fine accompaniment! Drink what you like, though, and what is pleasing to your palate. Currently trending in my household –  Lincourt’s Chardonnay. 

Enjoy and, as always, drink responsibly! 

Barley Summer Salad

Adapted from James Moore of “One For The Table”

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 3 cups water or organic vegetable broth, organic if possible
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, organic (rinsed well and drained)
  • 1/2 cup chopped, raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. mint, finely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tso 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 8 large lettuce leaves

Directions:

  1. Heat the barley and water/broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook covered until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed (~40-50 minutes). Drain; rinse with cold water. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the barley, garbanzo beans, cashews, green onions, basil, parsley, and mint. 
  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive pol, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper.
  4. Pour the dressing over the barley mixture and toss to coat. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours.
  5. Arrange lettuce leaves in a chilled salad bowl or platter. Place barley mixture on top of leaves, and garnish with additional fresh parsley and carrots if you like!

Serves ~8  

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