Even though I’ve just barely made 5 or so recipes from my favorite food blog of all time, I can confidently say that this barley salad is one of my most favorite dishes from Deb’s kitchen. It’s a meaty, tangy, a little smoky, and an absolutely delicious meal that my entire family loves consuming. There are a lot of ingredients and prep work, but you can’t really go wrong- the ingredients are so flavorful that I can guarantee this will turn out tasting wonderful.
I have a newfound love for tangy olives, and the green olives in this salad really hit the spot. The tanginess is balanced by the slight creaminess and sweetness from the zucchini and eggplant; the barley has a nice bite to it; fresh cherry tomatoes burst in your mouth and the bright lemon dressing ties everything together. Even though I’ve never been to Greece or any other Mediterranean country, I imagine this barley salad is what the Mediterranean is made of.
Did I sell it to ya?
I like to eat this salad warm, so that the mozzarella melts slightly. You can bring it to room temperature and eat it that way, if you prefer.
- ½ pound eggplant, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ¾ pound zucchini, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 5 stalks of scallions, chopped
- 1½ teaspoons cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 8.8 oz barley (I used the 10 minute barley packet from Trader Joes)
- 2½ cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- ½ pound cherry tomatoes, quartered
- ⅓ cup green olives, pitted and halved
- ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion, rinsed and drained if desired
- ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- ½ cup chopped fresh mint
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into bite sized pieces.
- Prepare the vegetables: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss eggplant and zucchini in 5 tablespoons oil, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¾ teaspoon pepper on a lined baking sheet. Roast vegetables for about 20 minutes, until tender. Let cool.
- Prepare the barley: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot, but not smoking, then cook scallion, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add barley and cook, stirring until well coated with oil, 2 minutes more. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all of liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, 30-40 minutes (I know the packet of barley is labeled "10-minute," I find I still need to cook the barley for longer). Remove the pan from heat and let stand, for about 5 minutes to cool the barley.
- Prepare the dressing and put it all together: Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, sugar, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and 3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add barley, roasted vegetables, cheese, and remaining ingredients to bowl with dressing and toss until combined.