Ok…so for those of you that only thought barley was only for making beer, I have got some great news! Barley has been cultivated for over 10,000 years as a cereal grain. It has a chewy texture and a mild, nutty flavor. It contains many important vitamins, minerals and other beneficial plant compounds. Barley is a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber which help lower cholesterol and blood sugar as well as improve digestion.
Broccoli is high in many nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and potassium and is delicious no matter if it is raw or cooked (despite what some ex-President’s may have said!). In this recipe we will be using raw broccoli (just like you might find on a restaurant salad bar if you can find any restaurant salad bars still in operation!).
- Broccoli: cut the florets as small as you can. Use the stems as well; remove the tough peel and slice them thin.
- Barley: look for hulled barley (a whole grain). Use pearled barley only if you cannot find hulled because pearled is not a whole grain and contains fewer nutrients. Pearl barley has been polished, or “pearled” to remove some or all of the outer bran layer along with the hull. That pearl process removes some nutrients, yet it retains an excellent fiber profile. Cooking time for hulled barley can be up to 50 minutes (less in a pressure cooker). Special hint: Cook the barley in advance in large batches and freeze in individual containers.
- Omit jalapeno peppers if you can’t take the heat or substitute serrano for more heat.
- Red onion is best in salads as it is milder and adds a nice touch of color.
- I like to cut the lemon in my dressings with some vinegar. It adds complexity as they are different types of acid (citric acid vs acetic acid).
- Optional: add a can of beans to make it a complete meal (cannellini, garbanzo, white Northern, black beans, black eyed peas would work well)
How to make barley broccoli salad:
The best version of this salad requires the broccoli, barley, onion and jalapeno to marinate with the dressing for 30 minutes to two hours; it will give a chance for the flavors to meld together and the broccoli to soften a bit. Add at the last minute the ingredients you want to remain crunchy and fresh: cucumber, radish and parsley.
Barley broccoli salad will keep well for 3 to 5 days in your refrigerator, but keep in mind the radish and cucumber will not remain as crunchy as the first day.
Other recipes to try:
Barley broccoli salad
- 2 cups broccoli florets cut small
- 1 cup cooked barley
- 1/2 cup red onion sliced thin
- 1 jalapeño pepper seeded and sliced
- 1/2 cup cucumber sliced
- 1/2 cup radishes sliced
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
- Chop and slice all vegetables.
- Place broccoli, barley, red onion and jalapeno in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix mustard, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil. Whisk until combined. Pour over the broccoli mix.
- Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to a couple hours.
- When ready to serve, add cucumber, radish and parsley. Toss well and serve immediately.