Simple Barley Salad

Simple Barley Salad

Simple Barley Salad

I had this post scheduled for last Friday, but it suddenly sounded trivial in light of the recent tragic events in Paris, so I sat on it for a little while.
I was going to write about shopping, and the little Scandinavian café near Place de la République where I learned the French word for barley – orge, and thought of this salad.

The thing is, we live this world where deplorable incidents like these, sadly happens too often, except it usually happens to ‘other people‘ in ‘other places‘. The terror becomes more jarring and horrifying when it occurs in familiar places… in cities you love or in the same streets and cafés you were in just a month ago.

What I know is that Paris will recover from this, it always has; the past and the thousands of plaques, monuments and memorials marking the city‘s history tell us that it has survived worst, its motto after all is “Tossed But Not Sunk (Fluctuat nec mergitur)”.

I wish there was a way to figure out this madness, then I remembered a quote from a book I read a long time ago that said, “There’s no way for people to stop hurting each other except to stop”.

Simple Barley Salad

Simple Barley Salad

Simple Barley Salad

So, let’s get on with the salad then. We had an impromptu get-together this weekend where I got the chance to make this simple barley salad again. It truly is as simple as the name implies, and very loosely inspired by a side dish I saw at that café in Paris last year, hearty barley tossed with fruit and nuts and dressed in a yoghurt-ey vinaigrette.

Before then, I’d been holding on to a packet of quick-cooking barley from Trader Joe’s for several months determined to do more with it beyond soup and barley water.
Chewy with a rich nutty flavour, barley is a low-glycemic whole grain rich in dietary fibre and trace minerals. It’s cooked like pasta and can be substituted in recipes that call for rice and other grains.

Simple Barley Salad

This salad is a great way to try out barley if you’re new to this wonderful grain, it’s a highly versatile salad; add your favourites or whatever vegetables are in season where you are – I sometimes do carrots, red onions and roasted vegetables like fennel with a tangy harissa-spiced tahini dressing; apple, pomegranate seeds, toasted walnuts and kale is delicious with this dressing too.

As colder months draw in, I like to do warm filling salads that make a meal in themselves or good hearty side dishes. I love the chewy tenderness of this barley salad, here I pair it with simple medley of tomatoes, onions, sweetcorn and chili peppers. Use milder peppers if you prefer but I feel that the little heat adds a nice kick to the salad if you can handle it.
The dressing too is simple, a garlicky Dijon vinaigrette that is easy to throw together and easy to make your own.

Simple Barley Salad

Simple Barley Salad Simple Barley Salad

Simple Barley Salad
A simple tasty and hearty salad, makes a delicious side, great warm or cold!
  1. 1 cup pearl barley or hulled barley
  2. 2 cups vegetable broth or water (3 cups for hulled barley)
  3. 1 teaspoon olive oil
  4. 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  5. 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or a fruit- flavoured vinegar (I like pomegranate vinegar)
  6. 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  7. 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  8. 1 - 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  9. 1 large garlic clove, minced
  10. Pinch of sea salt to taste
  11. 1 onion, chopped
  12. 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  13. 1 – 2 fresh chilli peppers or banana peppers or jalapeno, finely chopped
  14. 1 cup whole kernel sweet corn, cooked
  15. 2/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  16. Toasted pumpkin seeds and/or cashews for topping
  17. Freshly ground black pepper to serve
  1. In a medium saucepan bring broth or water to boil over medium-high heat
  2. Add barley, oil and salt and bring back to a boil
  3. Lower heat, cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes (about 45 minutes for hulled barley) or until tender
  4. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes, drain liquid and let cool
  5. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, garlic and salt to make a smooth dressing
  6. Add barley, onion, tomatoes, pepper and sweet corn, toss to coat
  7. Stir in parsley and serve topped with toasted pumpkin seeds and/or cashews and some freshly ground black pepper to serve
  8. Enjoy!
the Whinery by Elsa Brobbey
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Simple Barley Salad

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  • Reply grace

    not simple at all–very nuanced, i’d say. love the colorful and fresh components, elsa, and as usual, your images are lovely. 🙂

    19 November, 2015 at 6:17 am
    • Reply Elsa | the whinery

      Thanks! you’re right, it does have a combination of rich and tasty flavours for a ‘simple salad’ 🙂

      2 December, 2015 at 3:51 pm
  • Reply Bintu @ Recipes From A Pantry

    Lots of awfulness out there in the world but as you rightly say Paris will recover.

    22 November, 2015 at 2:15 am
    • Reply Elsa | the whinery

      Yes, B. it will, I have faith in humanity. Although I’m not sure how much more of this I can take:-(

      2 December, 2015 at 4:00 pm
  • Reply Natalie @

    Oh boy! I love how refreshing and healthy this looks!

    1 December, 2015 at 7:38 am
  • Reply Sarah Menlove Romero

    Trader Joes Barley, right? Love that stuff. 🙂

    1 December, 2015 at 8:37 am
    • Reply Elsa | the whinery

      Yes, that’s the Trader Joe’s Barley, that stuff is awesome! 🙂

      2 December, 2015 at 4:02 pm
  • Reply Amanda @ A Good Hue

    Oooh, this sounds tasty– you pretty much had me at ‘garlicky dijon’. I just bought some barley and have been looking for new uses– I am definitely going to try this soon!

    1 December, 2015 at 8:38 am
    • Reply Elsa | the whinery

      Oh yes! definitely try this salad and that dressing is soo good! 🙂 I’d love to hear what you think if you make it. 🙂

      2 December, 2015 at 4:03 pm
  • Reply Kari Guastella

    This looks so fresh! Perfect for post holiday detoxing!

    1 December, 2015 at 10:22 am
  • Reply ObsessiveCookingDisorder

    Beautiful post. That Paris tragedy was awful 🙁 But little things like food and friends keep us going. Thanks for the barley recipe and lovely photos 🙂

    1 December, 2015 at 2:36 pm
    • Reply Elsa | the whinery

      I know Natalie, we do need our comforts and each other during these trying times. 🙂

      2 December, 2015 at 4:07 pm

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