Toasted Barley Salad with Fresh Herbs, Tomato & Zucchni

I attended a recipe demo at the Culinary Institute of America (St. Helena, CA). At first, I wasn't impressed with the title of this salad-- until I tasted it! This toasted barley salad is a perfect way to showcase summer tomatoes (I used heirloom) and summer squash of your choice. Toasting the barley and pine nuts is key to the flavor and textures of this healthy & flavorful salad. The chef chose to use purple basil (green is fine) and so did I, when I made this at home. We love it!

Hearty barley salad with fresh herbs and veggies
Hearty barley salad with fresh herbs and veggies
Hearty barley salad with fresh herbs and veggies

PREP TIME

25

minutes

TOTAL TIME

45

minutes

SERVINGS

6

servings

PREP TIME

25

minutes

TOTAL TIME

45

minutes

SERVINGS

6

servings

Ingredients

  • 3

    cups low-sodium chicken stock

  • 2

    cups barley

  • 1/2

    cup cilantro, optional

  • 1

    cup parsley, minced

  • 1/2

    cup basil, minced

  • 1/2

    cup toasted pine nuts

  • 2

    tablespoons water

  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons

  • 6

    tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 to 3

    zucchini, seeded and diced (can use summer squash too)

  • 4

    cups tomatoes (buy a colorful assortment of heirloom tomatoes, if you can)

  • 1/2

    cup red onion, finely diced

  • OPTIONAL: 1/4 cup dry jack cheese, grated

  • NOTE: *I prefer to "chiffonade" the basil by stacking the leaves, rolling them and slicing very thin. I wait to do this, last, as basil can bruise and turn dark

  • the water is to add to the barley if the liquid dries up before it is cooked to "al dente" (slight crunch to it)

Directions

You'll want to prep all of your ingredients, first. The assembly of the salad happens quickly. This salad is best served immediately-- or within an hour. You can make the barley up to a day ahead, and then bring it to room temperature-- if desired. Bring a dry skillet to medium-high heat, and then add the barley. Stir the barley often, toasting the barley until it is aromatic. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool. Pine nuts: Bake (on parchment paper, if possible) at 350°F for about 5 minutes. Watch the pine nuts closely, so that they don't burn. Set aside. Zucchini: Cut the zucchini lengthwise and scrape the seeds, using a spoon. You don't have to do this step, but I think it's worthwhile: Heat a little olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Season the zucchini, lightly, with kosher salt & pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, cut side down, until lightly golden. Set aside to cool. Barley: You will need a pot with a lid. Bring the chicken stock to a boil. Stir in the barley; cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Check once or twice, by stirring. If the liquid is gone, and the barley is still uncooked, add a little more of the water. The barley should have a slight "crunch" to it (al dente). Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and allow to cool to room temperature. Assembly: Add the tomatoes, onion, zucchini, herbs, lemon zest, and SOME of the lemon juice and vegetables. Add the olive oil. Taste. Add kosher salt & pepper to taste. Taste again! Add more lemon juice, if desired. The lemon juice should come through, but not overpower the salad. Last, add the barley and gently combine. If desired, garnish with fresh Dry Jack Cheese (or cheese of your choice). Serve immediately. To your health & good flavor!

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