As you know, being healthier has been on my mind a lot as has losing weight. Because of that, I’ve been eliminated some things in my diet, like certain carbs. I’m missing my rice, though. In my house as a kid, we ate rice every night, so it’s a tough habit to break.
I’ve tried quinoa and it’s okay, but the one thing I’ve discovered that satisfies the rice craving and cooks up suprisingly similar is barley. Plus, while you may pay $5 or $6 for a bag of quinoa, you can head to the dried beans aisle and pick up a bag of barley for under $2.
So what is barley? Barley is a healthy high fiber, high protein whole grain whose soluble fibers can help reduce the risk of heart disease. It can also help lower your cholesterol levels and its insoluble fibers can assist with Type 2 diabetes. Also, high fiber can also help lower the risk of colon cancer. Barley is also low in fat. One cup of barley has about 200 calories, but it’s packed with 6 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein!
Today’s recipe is inspired by a classic tabouleh salad and it’s what I call a refrigerator cleaner. Besides those veggies I’ve included in this recipe, add any others you may have around, like carrots and celery. I added some cooked asparagus to the basic recipe and it was delicious.
Barley Summer Salad
- 2 cups cooked barley*
2 Roma tomatoes
1 medium red onion
1 medium cucumber (regular or 1/2 English cucumber)
1/4 cup pecans
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 chopped pimentos
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
*To cook the barley, use 1 cup of dry barley, rinsed. Boil with 2 cups of water and/or broth. It’ll take about 35 to 40 minutes to cook. If you pre-soak the barley for an hour, it’ll take about 15 minutes to cook.
Put oil and vinegar in a large bowl. Chop all other ingredients into small pieces. Add to bowl and mix. Add barley to bowl and mix.
Done. It’s that simple and it’s a tasty side dish to burgers or any other summer meal!