I used to think of barley as a winter staple, in warm stews with mushrooms and carrots, or as a nice sticky “risotto”… When it cools down, barley becomes a gluey mush and therefore it never occurred to me to use it in a salad.
Until I recently stumbled upon a recipe that called for cooking the barley in a lot of water like pasta in order to remove the sticky starch. I decided to give it a try and that was a revelation!
Here is my version of a delicious barley salad that is bright with lemon flavor and has a tender chewiness that will leave you craving for more.
Feel free to use whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. This is what I happened to have that day and it turned out perfect! Give it a try!
Barley salad with herbs and lemon
- Place 6 quarts of water in a large pot, add barley and 1 tbsp salt. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce and cook for 25 to 45 minutes (follow instructions on barley package as cooking times can vary per brand).
- While barley cooks, grate the zest of the lemon over a large bowl.
- Add the juice of the lemon
- Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 3 tbsp olive oil. Whisk gently.
- Add 1/4 cup chopped red onion and set aside.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Once barley is cooked, drain it thoroughly and spread it into the baking sheet to let it cool down.
- Slice scallions, chop parsley, cilantro or any other herb you want to use.
- Slice carrots very thin.
- Add cooled barley to the dressing in the bowl, stir gently.
- Add scallions, herbs and carrots, a pinch of salt and pepper and mix throughly.
- Serve cold or at room temperature.