Does anyone else feel like the seasons have shifted? We've been having rainy weather for a while now when usually this part of California is hot by now! This past week the sun has finally emerged with all it's bright and brilliant glory. The weather isn't scorching yet, therefore perfect for a BBQ in the backyard or a picnic at the park. This Mediterranean inspired salad can be made ahead of time (just don't dress it until you are ready to serve) and perfect for such an occasion. I love serving it with tons of feta cheese and chopped parsley, and if you wanted to, you can add some grilled chicken or shrimp and serve it as the main course. Enjoy!
Mediterranean Barley Salad with Avocado Dressing
1 cup dry barley
2 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
3 Persian cucumbers, chopped
1 large tomato, inner juices and seeds discarded, chopped
Crumbled feta cheese, for garnish
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
2 ripe avocados
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
3 tablespoons oil of choice
2 teaspoons lemon juice or white vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Add the barley, the 2 1/2 cups water and the tablespoon of salt to a saucepan and turn on high heat. Let it come to a boil, then turn down the heat to low, cover lightly (leave a vent) and let the barley simmer for about 45-50 minutes until tender. Set aside.
2. To make the dressing, add all dressing ingredients to a blender or a food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to add more oil if the dressing is too thick for your liking. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
3. Add the cooked barley, bell pepper, black beans, chick peas, cucumber and tomato to a large bowl and mix. Add 1/2 cup of dressing at a time until salad is creamy; you may serve the rest of the dressing on the side for whoever wants more. Garnish with lots of crumbled feta and chopped parsley. Enjoy.
NOTE: This salad would be delicious with added protein, such as tofu or chicken. Do not dress the salad until you are ready to serve. Both salad and dressing can be made up to 3 days ahead.
All content is my own unless otherwise stated