Broccoli and pearl barley salad

Broccoli and pearl barley salad

40saves
50min


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About this recipe: Pearl barley, with its nutty flavour and firm texture, makes an interesting change from rice in grain-based salads, and it blends beautifully with this mixture of vegetables, sweet dried apricots and pumpkin seeds. Serve this as a satisfying lunch dish, adding some crumbled cheese such as feta for additional protein.

Norma MacMillan

Ingredients
Serves: 4 

  • 150 g (5½ oz) pearl barley
  • 200 g (7 oz) broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 3 courgettes, thickly sliced
  • 100 g (3½ oz) sugarsnap peas, halved
  • 55 g (2 oz) ready-to-eat dried apricots, thinly sliced
  • 30 g (1 oz) pumpkin seeds
  • salt and pepper
  • Spicy tomato dressing
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • dash of Tabasco sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander or parsley (optional)

Method
Prep:50min  ›  Ready in:50min 

  1. Rinse the barley in one or two changes of water – do this in a bowl, swirling the grains with your fingers and pouring off the cloudy water. Drain the barley in a sieve, then place it in a saucepan and pour in 750 ml (1 1/4 pints) cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover the pan. Simmer the barley very gently for about 30 minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed and the grains are tender but still firm. Drain the barley well.
  2. While the barley is cooking, bring a second pan of water to the boil. Add the broccoli florets, courgettes and sugarsnap peas and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the vegetables for 3–4 minutes or until they are just tender but still crisp, then drain well and rinse briefly with cold water to refresh and stop the cooking.
  3. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in the apricots. Add the barley and vegetables as soon as they are cooked, and mix well to coat with the dressing. Check the seasoning, then cover and allow to cool until just warm.
  4. Add the pumpkin seeds to the salad just before serving, warm or cold. Soda bread or wholemeal bread are good accompaniments.

Some more ideas

Bulghur wheat can be used instead of pearl barley. Soak the bulghur wheat in plenty of cold water for 15 minutes, then drain thoroughly in a sieve. Tip the bulghur onto a clean tea-towel, gather up the towel around it and squeeze out excess moisture. The soaked bulghur does not need cooking. * Use frozen vegetables instead of fresh – try one of the many mixtures available, such as frozen summer vegetables with peas, sweetcorn, red pepper and baby carrots. Cook in boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain well. * Replace the pumpkin seeds with toasted sunflower seeds, or use coarsely chopped roasted peanuts or cashew nuts. * Other grains to try in this salad include quinoa or buckwheat, both available from healthfood stores. Couscous is also suitable. Prepare according to the packet instructions.

Plus points

Like other cereals, pearl barley is an excellent starchy carbohydrate. It is also low in fat. * Broccoli is an excellent source of beta-carotene and vitamins C and E. It also provides B6, folate and niacin. * Dried apricots provide vitamin A (from beta-carotene).

Each serving provides

C * B1, E, folate, niacin, copper, iron * A, B2, B6, calcium, potassium, zinc

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