I’ve prepared quite a few of these grain salads in my day and I have to tell you that I’ve never had a bad one. Actually, before I began cooking in earnest a few years ago, I don’t think I even knew these things existed. They’re pretty good though because, well, I like grains such as red wheat and barley, but really, it’s about the vinaigrette and toppings. There’s so much you can do with this type of salad and they can get very creative if you let them.
When I chose this recipe from one of my cookbooks, I’ll admit that I didn’t study the ingredients list or instructions before I went ahead and added it to the others I planned on making. I had no idea that the sunflower seeds were going to be toasted and have coriander, allspice, cumin and salt infused in them. I also didn’t know that the yogurt sauce was going to be flavored with fresh mint and lemon. If I had known all this, I probably would have gone ahead and made this recipe before the others, but that’s no matter because they all had their day. This was one great salad though and what I’m trying to say here is that the grain, seeds and sauce were very flavorful and the combination of ingredients was just perfect. I’m still trying to get over the sunflower seeds. There’s nothing like all that flavor. They were so good.
1 Cup Pearl Barley
Ground Black Pepper
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
8 Ounces Snow Peas, Ends Trimmed
1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
3/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/4 Teaspoon Allspice
1 Cup Plain Yogurt
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 Tablespoons Fresh Mint, Minced
2 Avocados, Halved, Pitted, Peeled and Cut into 1/2 Inch Pieces
I’d like to thank America’s Test Kitchen for their resource called The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook. I pulled this recipe from it. They knocked it out of the park with this one.
Add four quarts of water to a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water and then add the barley. Let the barley cook for about 40 minutes or until it’s tender. When it is, turn off the heat and strain the barley through a colander.
Fry the Snow Peas
Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is to temperature, add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to it and then add the snow peas and 1/2 teaspoon coriander. Stir and let the peas cook for about three minutes. After that, transfer the peas to a bowl.
Toast the Sunflower Seeds
With the skillet heat still on, but reduced to medium, add the sunflower seeds to the skillet. Also add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, cumin, allspice, remaining coriander and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir the seeds and let cook for a few minutes just until you begin to smell them and they begin to brown. When they do, remove them from the pan and let cool.
Make Yogurt Sauce
In a medium sized bowl, add the yogurt, two tablespoons lemon juice, one tablespoon mint, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Mix these ingredients together well.
In a small bowl, whisk together three tablespoons olive oil, one tablespoon lemon juice and one tablespoon mint. Add the barley to a large bowl and pour this olive oil/lemon sauce over the barley and mix well. Then, add in the snow peas and mix them into the barley.
Plate & Serve
Divide the barley and snow pea mixture among bowls or plates. Then, divide the avocado pieces among the plates as well and sprinkle the sunflower seeds over the avocado. Drizzle each serving with yogurt sauce and serve. Enjoy!
The Final Barley & Avocado Salad
As you can probably imagine, there are very flavorful parts of this salad. As if the spices weren’t enough, there’s the salt to bring those flavors out even more. I think you’ll enjoy this salad, so if you do decide to give it a shot, please let me know your thoughts in the comment section down below. Thanks for reading!