This year, I have been trying to stay away from highly processed foods. This has asked me to get creative with ingredients. Stepping out of my comfort zone of rice or even quinoa, and try new things. Grains, Carbs, they can get a bad reputation in my opinion, but I like my grains and so I need to be more adventurous when I use them. My new grain of choice… Barley. It is not just for the condensed beef soups that you may have grown up with. Barley is awesome.
Barley is a cereal grain. It has been cultivated for centuries from Asia to Medieval Europe. It can be made into flour for bread or used to make beer. Who doesn’t love bread and beer? This cereal grain is low on the Glycemic Index and high in fiber. This salad calls for pearled barley. That means the outer bran layer of the grain has been taken off. You can try to make it with the whole grain, but I have not and I can not vouch for texture.
Using what I had fresh on hand from my garden, I decided to make up a salad that would feature this awesome grain.
- 1 cup Pearl Barley (Prepared as the package says)
- 1/2 cup Corn (from the cob if possible)
- 1 cup Green Beans (Chopped)
- 1 Red Bell Pepper (diced)
- 1 Cucumber (seeded and diced)
- 1/4 Scallions
- 1/4 Greek Salad Dressing
You can use store bough Greek Dressing for this salad, but if you want to stay away from processed foods try making the dressing yourself. It is simple to make and tastes great.
Greek Style Salad Dressing
- 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3/4 cups Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 Garlic Clove Minced
- 1 tablespoon Dried Oregano
- 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon Dried Dillweed
- Salt and Pepper to taste (I use 1/4 tsp of salt and lots of black pepper.)
Remember when making dressing, it is easier to add then to take away. Be sure to taste your dressing and add salt and pepper a little at a time.
|You can whisk everything together in a bowl or like I do, combine in a food processor|
|If using a food processor, I first add in my dried herbs and spices. I then pulse a couple of times to release some of the flavors.|
|After you have added in the herbs and spices, I add in the garlic, Dijon mustard, olive oil and red wine vinegar and mix well.|
|The dressing is ready to use right away. You can adjust the salt and pepper to your taste. Also, I tend to like brightness of the vinegar so I am heavy handed with it, but it is all a matter of taste.|
This salad was a great way to feature what is in season right now where you live. From your own garden or your local farm market, get creative. Change up the veggies as you see fit. I love the fresh parsley in this salad, but maybe you want to try mint. Go for it.