Back in the fall I bought a GIANT bag of pearled barley. I had big plans for using it in all sorts of soups and stews and other lovely wintery comfort food. I did make a few lovely soups, including this delicious Creamy Mushroom and Barley Soup. Mmmm! But it turns out when you only use barley a cup at a time, it takes a while to get through a big old bag. So I needed to mix it up and make something a bit more spring and summer friendly.
That's right, put away the soup pot. Barley is coming into a new season! This really isn't much different than the quinoa salad kick I went on. But this take is even fresher and more filling! It would be a great picnic side as it is portable and can be made ahead. It would be great for a nice dinner served alongside a piece of grilled meat. Can't you imagine it with a lovely chicken breast, or pork chop, or fish? It also makes a great lunch on it's own. In fact, I brought the leftovers to work for lunch for 4 days. I didn't need anything else and it held up really well even as the days went on.
So if you are looking for a new fresh side, this is definitely worth making! Even my manly man, steak and potatoes husband really enjoyed it. He mentioned how much he like it at least twice over the course of dinner. That's saying something too.
If that last bit of barley is already working its way toward the back of the pantry, stop! Pull it out and put it to good use!
Asparagus, Barley and Chickpea Salad
serves 8 as a side
1 cup pearled barley
1 lb asparagus
1 15oz can chickpeas
4 T lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
3 T fresh chives, chopped
- Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to boil. Add a pinch of salt. Add the barley, return to a boil and then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 40 minutes or until barley is tender. Allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, trim the ends off the asparagus and cut into two inch pieces. Cook until tender crisp using your favorite method. You can blanch them, steam them or even a couple of minutes in the microwave will do.
- Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss in the asparagus and barley. Stir in the herbs and adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.