Sunday, August 11, 2013

Barley "Pasta" Salad

This salad has all the flavors you love from summer pasta salads, but uses pearl barley as the base instead. You'll get more fiber than from pasta, and loads more iron and protein, making for a healthier choice at any of your upcoming summer get-togethers.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups finely chopped and seeded tomato
  • 1 cup thinly sliced spinach
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped, seeded, and peeled cucumber
  • 1/2 cup diced Vegan Gourmet mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pepperoncini peppers
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
1. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan, and add the barley.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water; drain again.


Note: I recommend chopping the veggies while the barley is simmering, to streamline preparation.


2. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt in a large bowl.  Add the cooked barley and all the remaining ingredients, tossing to coat.


Lightly sweetened iced tea is the perfect way to wash it all down.


Nutrition Info:
5 servings (about 1 cup), Calories 153

Tasting Notes:
This is super delicious, even better than I was expecting. The barley provides a nice chewy, nutty background, and all of the veggies are fresh fresh fresh. Taking the time to finely chop everything makes this a bit like a hearty chopped chef's salad. I was torn between using fresh pepperoncini peppers or the kind sold in jars, and am glad I chose the latter, since it added just the right amount of brine/saltiness, and I think the salad would be a touch too bland otherwise. If you like oregano, this salad is definitely for you. The only change I'd make would be to crumble Veg Cuisine's feta on top next time, in place of the mozzarella.

Rating:
3.5

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