Summer Barley Salad

I have really started to like making salads out of barley.  It is much healthier than pasta, and has a great nutty flavor.  I have never much been into cold rice salads, so this is a perfect alternative.  I saw this recipe in Cooking Light, and I was so excited – I had been thinking about all the barley I had in the pantry, and how I was going to use it.

The first time I made barley, it turned out almost like a risotto – and even though when mixed with the rest of the ingredients, it still tasted great – for some reason I was just not satisfied with the texture.  The next time I made barley, I decided to rinse it after I was finished cooking.  That definitely did the trick – and the barley didn’t all stick together.  From now on, I always rinse the barley after I am done cooking it.  Not only does it cool the barley off, but the grains don’t stick to each other, and allows all the other ingredients to mingle in just the right way.

Now I just need to get my kids to start eating it…and when I do, then I know I was successful.  Even though the kids didn’t like this salad, all the adults I served it to LOVED it.  There were hardly any leftovers, and there were only 4 adults.  The flavors were wonderful, just perfect along side the grilled steak we had for dinner.  This is definitely a summer salad keeper.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2  cups  uncooked pearl barley
  • 1  cup  fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
  • 1  cup  diced seeded plum tomato (about 2 small)
  • 1/2  cup  chopped green onions
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 20  kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 3  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

Preparation

Cook barley according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain. Cool completely. Combine barley, corn, and next 4 ingredients (through kalamata olives) in a bowl. Combine juice and next 4 ingredients (through garlic), stirring well with a whisk; drizzle over barley mixture. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.

Serves 8 as a side dish.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Summer Barley Salad

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