Healthy grains are all the rage right now (I think? I’m not up on the fads. I think I’m getting old. Kids these days…). I’ve definitely started to experiment with and try out new types in the last year. I think my favorite right now is bulgur, but barley is a close second. It’s close in texture to rice, but it has more ‘bite’ to it (think al dente pasta) and yet is chewier. It’s high in fiber and many important minerals and vitamins. It makes for interesting one-bowl meals, as it’s hearty and pairs well with many vegetables. It’s also one of the main ingredients in beer! (L. Smith says, “Hooray, beer!” in the background).
This Barley and Pomegranate Salad has a good mix of ingredients with bite (the barley and celery) and fresh flavors (the pomegranate and fresh herbs), and it’s super colorful, a perfect boost to a dreary grey winter day. It’s also a great vegetarian and vegan option for entertaining, and rather quick to pull together.
I found a neat trick for removing the pomegranate seeds easily and with no mess: make shallow cuts into and around the surface of the pomegranate to split it open into quarters, then place the pomegranate pieces in a large bowl of water. Run your hands over the seeds under the water to separate them from the pith. No stained hands!
Barley and Pomegranate Salad
A great mix of ingredients with good bite and fresh flavors; it’s super colorful, a perfect boost to a dreary grey winter day. It’s also a great vegetarian and vegan option for entertaining.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
- 1 1/2 cup pearl barley
- 8 celery stalks (leaves reserved)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2/3 teaspoon ground allspice
- salt, pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- seeds from 2 large pomegranates
- 1 crisp apple (Fuji, Macintosh, Granny Smith)
- Rinse the barley in cold water. Place in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Simmer for 30-35 minutes, until tender but with a bite (think al dente pasta).
- Dice the celery stalks, and reserve the celery leaves.
- Mince the garlic cloves.
- Drain the barley and transfer to a large bowl. Add the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, celery, allspice, and salt and pepper and mix until well-coated. Let the barley mix cool.
- Cut the top and bottoms off the pomegranates, then make shallow cuts into and around the pomegranate skin, following the guide of the white membranes (meaning cut into the white parts, not the sections with seeds), to make quarters. Split open the pomegranate and place in a large bowl filled with water. Use your hands to loosen the seeds, under the water to minimize staining. Remove the white pith membranes and drain the seeds.
- Chop the apple into a small dice, removing the seeds.
- Roughly chop the dill and parley.
- Add the pomegranate seeds, celery leaves, chopped dill and parsley, and apple to the barley, and mix to combine. Marvel at the colors, and then enjoy!
Slightly modified from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi