Nutty, chewy barley shines in this simple salad that’s packed with wonderful textures. The contrasting hues of the cream-colored pearl barley and the purplish-black barley make for a beautiful play of colors. I like this barley salad served both warm and at room temperature, and I always make enough so I have leftovers for the next day.–Marcus Samuelsson
Barley Salad Recipe
Hands-On Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes | 6 to 8 servings
- 1/2 cup pearl barley
- 1/2 cup black barley
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon chopped jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs removed
- 2 cups roughly chopped baby spinach
- 1 tablespoon za’atar (see Note)
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup chopped scallions, white and light green parts
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 cup diced feta cheese
- 1 cup finely diced cucumber
- 1 red onion, diced
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata olives
- 2 tablespoons chopped mint
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1. Rinse the pearl barley and black barley in two separate strainers under cold running water for 5 minutes. Pat dry and keep separate. Fill two separate pots with 1 quart salted water. Add the black barley to one and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add the pearl barley to the other and cook for 45 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Strain each and set aside.
- 2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, pine nuts, and jalapeño and saute until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach and za’atar and cook until the spinach has wilted, 3 to 4 minutes.
- 3. Combine the remaining olive oil, the pearl barley, black barley, spinach mixture, tomatoes, scallions, lime juice, parsley, feta, cucumber, onion, vinegar, olives, and mint in a large salad bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Note: Za’atar is one of my favorite spice blends. North African in origin, it has citrusy notes that add a bright jolt of flavor. Look for premixed blends in African markets, spice shops, or online.
Barley Salad Recipe © 2009 Marcus Samuelsson. Photo © 2009 Paul Brissman. All rights reserved.