Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Beat the Heat: 3-Bean Barley Salad

This recipe was inspired by the “Edamame 3-Bean Salad” recipe from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch.  With the temperatures soaring into the 90’s, I wanted to make a cold barley salad that I could keep in the fridge for the week and have as either a main or side dish most days.  After reading many barley salad recipes and finding none that appealed to me, I remembered the Skinny Bitch bean salad and figured I’d make a variation of that (I switched up the veggies a bit and used different dressing) with barley.   

Although I list the following ingredients, this is really a “make it your own” salad.  Add or substitute other veggies, herbs, beans, or even choose a different grain.  Quinoa or Israeli couscous would work well.  The same goes for the dressing.  Try some different flavors to see what works best.  A light miso dressing or even just some lemon or lime juice would be fresh and delicious.  Because when I made it I wasn't sure exactly what flavor I'd like the dressing to be, I didn’t actually mix all the dressing into the whole salad at once.  I added it to my own portion each time I had it.  Brian had his in a wrap with avocado and didn’t even add any dressing.  If you are planning on serving this at a get-together and think most of it will get eaten, go ahead and mix it in all at once.  If you’re saving it for a few meals, hold off on the dressing.  It's much more versatile without it.  

Also note that this makes a LOT of salad.  It ended up being too much for the two of us to eat in a week so I'd suggest scaling it back a bit (you could probably even get away with the same amount of veggies but half of the barley) if you're cooking for two.   

3-Bean Barley Salad

1 cup uncooked pearl barley
3 cups water

1 ear cooked corn, kernels cut off OR ½ cup frozen corn (rinsed under cold water to thaw)
1 cup shelled edamame
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs (I used basil)

Fat-free Orange Juice Vinaigrette (recipe follows) or dressing of choice 


1. Combine barley and water in a medium-sized pot.  Bring to boil, cover, and reduce heat to simmer.  Cook for 50-60 minutes until all the water has been absorbed.

2. While the barley is cooking, prep your veggies and place them in a large bowl.

3. When the barley is done, place it in a sieve or colander and rinse under cold water.  Drain well and add to veggies.  Add dressing.  Stir to combine.  Serve cold or at room temperature.

Makes about 10-12 cups.

Fat-free Orange Juice Vinaigrette

½ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup orange juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Whisk all ingredients together and season to taste with salt and pepper. 

I ate mine over a bed of mixed greens from our CSA.

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