Posted on: Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tomato, Feta, & Barley Salad

Tomato, Feta, & Barley Salad

Did You Know? Barley played an important role in ancient Greek culture as a staple bread-making grain as well as an important food for athletes, who attributed much of their strength to their barley-containing training diets. Gladiators were even known as hordearii, which means "eaters of barley."

One more dish before we put Easter away until next Spring. This barley salad was my favorite addition to our lunch on Sunday. The original recipe called for orzo, but that didn't seem hearty enough for me, nor very flavorful. My fondness of barley's texture and chewiness won over, and I used this favorite grain of mine once more in a lovely salad of sorts.

Besides being wonderfully nutty, barley also packs quite the nutritional punch. Unlike your average pasta or white rice, barley delivers over half of your %DV of fiber and selenium per one cup serving, as well as being a good source of phosphorous, copper, and manganese. Racking up benefits like protection against cardiovascular disease, free radicals, atherosclerosis, and type 2 diabetes, barley is a nutritious whole grain you surely want to incorporate into your diet.


Green Onions

Besides the barley, the ingredients backing it up are in no way lacking nutritionally either. Full of juicy tomatoes, creamy feta, and spicy green onions, the whole salad comes together with a wonderful honey-sweetened vinaigrette. You'll have some extra dressing after tossing the barley, so just throw it in the fridge to flavor your salads and veggies for the next couple days (which is about how long it will last). Enjoy!
Tomato, Feta, & Barley Salad

Tomato, Feta, & Barley Salad
Adapted from Bon Appetit via Epicurious

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup olive oil

4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups barley
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 7-ounce package feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup toasted, slivered almonds


Rinse barley, and place in a small bowl. Cover with water by about two inches, and let soak for about an hour. Drain.

Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, and honey in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)

Bring broth and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a large heavy saucepan. Stir in barley, reduce heat, cover, and boil until tender but still firm to bite, about 20 minutes. Drain. Transfer to large wide bowl, tossing frequently until cool.

Mix tomatoes, feta, basil, green onions, and almonds into barley. Add vinaigrette (I used about half); toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Serve at room temperature.

37 comments:

  1. Oooh...looks like summer! I usually do this with bulgar, but I need to remember the barley as well, I'm sure it would be delicious.

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  2. thank you for posting this - i love barley and never think to use it this way! this looks like a great combo!!

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  3. This sounds great. Your pictures make me want to dive right in!

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  4. This looks awesome! I am in love with feta. Very nice springtime salad. :-)

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  5. Ahh, I miss barley so much!! Damn my wheat/gluten allergy :-(


    Love the looks of that salad though!! Fabulous!!

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  6. yum! that looks so fresh and summery!! the honey in the dressing sounds good :)

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  7. I have been craving barley lately but didn't have a recipe to play with. This looks like a great spring salad. Thanks!

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  8. I haven't cooked with barley yet, but I am always looking to experiment with new grains. Thanks for this recipe!

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  9. How delicious! Great summer picnic salad.

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  10. well if the gladiators ate it then it has to be good for you! they were in some serious shape.
    I love that you put feta in there. I use a lot of barley in my hot soups.

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  11. This looks awesome. Good call on the barley - It's much more hearty than orzo.

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  12. That's a stunning salad--I love all the colors! And happen to love barley, too, which I think is a very underrated grain! Gorgeous pics :)

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  13. This looks dee-lish! I might add some shrimp!

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  14. What a terrific way to serve the barley. It looks springlike and delicious!

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  15. this is the kind of food I want to eat every day, especially when I can get good tomatoes.

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  16. I am always looking for more barley recipes and this one sounds really good. Of course I really like the use of the feta.

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  17. Looks really yummy and healthy - a perfect combination.

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  18. This looks wonderful. I can't wait to try it.

    I totally agree with you. Why use pasta or white rice when there are so many tastier and healthier whole grains to choose from?

    It's funny you referenced Greek culture. I was just finishing up The China Study and the author informed me that even as far back as 2500 years ago intellectuals like Plato (and likely Socrates) advocated a plant-based diet for achieving optimum personal and environmental health.

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  19. Looks great! Thanks for posting!

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  20. This salad sounds absolutely delicious---I never think to use barley outside of soups, so I was thrilled to find it featured in an appetizing salad such as this!

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  21. love barley but can no longer eat it. Now I am gluten intolerant I have to use subsitutes. - Margaret

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  22. Throwing nutritious ancient grains into salads is just such a great idea! I've become an ancient grain lover since discovering their health benefits and as a way to slowly introduce carbs back into my diet (I cut it out completely for more than 3 years). This salad must also go so well with farro, since it has a similar texture and bite to barley. Thanks for sharing the recipe and all the nutritional info on barley :)

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  23. I love barley, and this sounds fantastic! It looks so fresh and lovely with the tomatoes and green onions.

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  24. Gorgeous and healthy....the perfect dish.

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  25. This is very similar to a Giada orzo salad recipe that I enjoyed making last summer, but I love the idea of using barley instead. Healthier and more filling!

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  26. hahaha, I eat barley in all sorts of ways! even baked as pizza! this is yet another barely recipe I'm keepng!

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  27. Mmm this looks so fresh and delicious. Love the nutritional information, as well!

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  28. I'll be honest, I've not really eaten barley as a grain except for in a thick soup. This recipe makes me want to run to the grocery store and make it!!

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  29. This is a beautiful, healthy salad. YUM!

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  30. Someone ordered a barley salad for a catered lunch we had at work yesterday and it was delicious. I've been thinking how I needed to recreate it at home and here I stumble upon your blog and find a recipe. Thanks!

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  31. Love the recipes...easy and simple and nutritious. Great pictures.

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  32. Love your healthy salad!
    I have similar recipes like that!
    Great for sunny spring & to cool down in the hot summer, enjoyed with a good glass of chilled white Sauvignon wine! Lovely!

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  33. We've got pearl barley on hand. We could give this one a try.

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  34. Thank you for posting this recipe. This is quite possibly the best barley salad I ever made myself - or ate in general. My fiancee and friends gave it huge thumbs up as well.

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  35. This was wonderful! Very simple, flavorful & filling.

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  36. Just made this for dinner tonight. The only change I made was to chop roma tomatoes into small pieces, rather than using grape tomatoes, just for the sake of frugality. Delicious!

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  37. This is better than I thought it would be! This is my first foray into the world of barley, and I am sold. Yum!

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