A few weeks ago, I taught a class that focused on grains. Not wheat and oats but rather, quinoa, barley, wheat berries - you get the idea. In researching my family ate many grain based meals and sides and they were really well received. One of our favs was this Mediterranean Barley Salad. It's has fresh fennel and parsley in it, both of which I saw at the green market last week. I have since made it with grape tomatoes and sweet peppers - the punch of color is nice. Use leftover grilled chicken and it's a perfect entree. Don't you love recipes like this?
Mediterranean Barley Salad
2 1/4 cups water
3/4 cup pearled barley
1 1/2 t. lemon rind
3 T. lemon juice
4 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb, use a mandolin if you have one
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped red onion
3/4 t. kosher salt
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
1) 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
Bring 2 1/4 cups water and barley to a rolling boil in a medium sized sauce pan. Cover, reduce heat to simmer and allow to cook about 25 minutes. Most of the water should be absorbed and the barley will be tender. Cool to barely room temperature.
To make the dressing, combine lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil and Dijon mustard in a jar.
Shake well until emulsified.
In a large bowl toss together the barley, fennel, parsley, red onion, olives and beans. Season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over and toss to coat.
Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.