My goodness…It has been a long time since I’ve posted a recipe! The last recipe I shared featured my cousin Macrae’s spaghetti sauce, and that was two months ago. (I’m still getting compliments about that sauce, by the way, so you should definitely try it if you haven’t already!)
Over the weekend I was invited to a potluck pool party, and because I knew there would be grilling going on, I decided to contribute a healthy and fresh salad. I looked up a bunch of recipes online, and pulled elements from a couple of them, and ended up creating my Double Lemon Vegetable Barley Salad. It got lots of compliments, so try it!
The star of the salad is barley, primarily because I had a lot of in the house. Barley is a grain that needs to be cooked, much like rice or quinoa, and it’s a healthy little bugger. Studies have shown that it can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and, because it contains a slower-to-digest fiber, it can keep you fuller for longer, thus leading to the consumption of fewer calories during the course of the day.
You can get quick-cooking barley, which takes 10 minutes on the stove, but I wanted to use up some regular pearled barley, which takes 45 minutes of low simmering. Because it takes so long, I cooked 1 cup of dry barley the night before, using the instructions on the package. Instead of water, I used low-sodium vegetable stock. After letting it cool, I stuck the whole pot in the fridge. In the morning, it was ready to use!
But first, I went nutso chopping vegetables. Like most salads, use what you have on hand. If there’s something you need to use up, toss it in. If you don’t have what I had, who cares? Throw in something else. You can’t go wrong with fresh veggies!
First in the bowl: one package of grape tomatoes (they were pretty small, or I would’ve cut them in half), one cucumber, 1/2 of a red onion (cut as thin as possible), and 1 orange bell pepper.
Then I added 1 zucchini, 5 radishes, and 1 yellow squash:
I wanted to add a little protein, so I drained and rinsed a can of garbanzo beans and added those in, too:
Toss all that together, and you’re off to a good start!
Then, I added the already-cooked-and-cooled barley:
One more dry ingredient: about 1/3 cup slivered almonds. You know, for a little crunch:
Let’s dress this baby! Here are the dressing ingredients:
- The juice of two lemons
- A couple handfuls fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
- 2 teaspoons salt-free lemon pepper seasoning (this, plus the fresh lemon juice, it what makes this a double lemon vegetable barley salad)
Stir this all up, and voila! Salad dressing!
It’s a very potent, very lemony salad dressing. It packs a punch. But, it’s not very much dressing at all, and it going to get dispersed over a big bowl of salad, so the end result of a very lightly-dressed dish that’s still nicely lemony.
Toss it all together, and you’re done!
The vegetables are crisp, the dressing is tangy, the barley is flavorful and satisfying. What more could you want from a salad?
Keep it up, David!