Barley is the perfect grain for a hearty salad because it’s chewy and readily absorbs flavors. It takes about 40 minutes to become tender, so there’s plenty of time to prepare the rest of the ingredients while it cooks.
Here we combine the barley with marinated mushrooms, sweet peppers, carrots, and crunchy green beans. Buttery walnuts round out the flavors and textures. For beautiful, bright green beans, mix them into the salad just before serving.
You might want to double the recipe, keeping the walnuts and green beans separate, since this colorful salad holds up well for 2 or 3 days. It matches quite pleasantly with any number of dishes.
preparation time: 50 minutes
sitting time: 30 minutes
- ½ cup raw pearled barley
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (1½ teaspoons dried)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup halved or quartered mushrooms
- 1 cup peeled and diced carrots
- 1 cup cut green beans, trimmed and halved
- 1 cup thinly sliced red or yellow bell peppers
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons butter
- ⅔ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- Using a strainer, rinse the barley and drain. In a small heavy skillet on low heat, roast the barley until fragrant and beginning to brown.
- Place the barley and water in a small saucepan, cover, and bring to a simmer.
- Cook on low heat until most of the water has been absorbed and the barley is soft, about 40 minutes.
- While the barley cooks, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, pour half of the dressing over the mushrooms and set aside.
- Blanch the carrots in boiling water for about 1 minute.
- Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large serving bowl.
- Blanch the green beans for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Drain and set aside to cool.
- Stir the bell peppers and parsley and marinated mushrooms into the bowl of carrots.
- In a skillet, heat the butter.
- When it sizzles, sauté the walnuts until they are coated and the butter begins to brown.
- Remove from the heat.
- When the barley is tender, drain it in a colander.
- Add the drained barley and the remaining dressing to the serving bowl and mix well.
- Allow the salad to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Just before serving, gently toss the green beans and walnuts into the salad.