Okay, let me just start off by saying right off that bat that the title of my post is a total misnomer where I'm concerned- I didn't use barley at all.
I could have used barley.
And my current obsession with grain salad?
Yeah...this salad looked awesome but I had other grains to try and didn't feel like digging through my pantry for barley. So I decided to take a leap of faith and go for it- I subbed sorghum.
I seriously had no idea what sorghum was going to taste like- the only time I've ever heard of it before was in the context of molasses. Does molasses come from sorghum? Possibly maybe?
I don't know. I'm too lazy to look it up right now.
Ugh. Who am I kidding. I'm totally going to look it up right now or it will drive me crazy.
Ahhh...here's my answer. Right here. Turns out they're not the same thing after all. Anyway, moving on...
So I used sorghum, mostly because it looked a lot more like barley to me than did the amaranth that was staring back at me as well so I figured it would probably sub fairly well. I was totally right.
Of course, if you don't have a pantry full of obscure grains to use up you could totally just grab some barley and call it a day. :-)
So anyway, back to the salad. We had dinner with inlaws a couple of weeks ago and- as I generally do in these situations- I decided to try something new. Thankfully I married into a family of adventurous eaters! I came across this recipe for Barley Lime Fiesta Salad and decided to give it a go. It looked so fresh and colorful, perfect for a hot summer day.
It's seriously hard to imagine how one might go about finding room for more veggies in this salad. Do you see all of those colors?? The only one missing is blue! Red peppers, orange carrots, yellow corn, green celery, (purple) red onion...all tossed with grains, black beans, and a yummy light lime dressing.
It's super refreshing- a bowlful makes for a wonderful lunch (maybe add some chicken for a heftier meal?) and a small serving makes for an awesome side dish. I served it alongside smoked beef short ribs myself. :-) I did up the salt, pepper, and cumin a little as well as adding a bit of cayenne.
The dressing and veggies really lend themselves to a wide variety of grains- I think this would work well with the barley it originally calls for, rice, farro- and a million other varieties I've yet to try, I'm sure!
1 cup pearl barley
2 cups water
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 (8.75 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
3/4 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped, or to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup, or to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil, or to taste
1 tablespoon lime juice, or to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar, or to taste
onion powder, or to taste
1. Bring the barley and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the barley is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and chill in refrigerator.
2. In a large salad bowl, combine the cooked barley, black beans, green and red bell pepper, corn, celery, red onion, carrot, chipotle pepper, 1 tablespoon of canola oil, salt, black pepper, and cumin until thoroughly mixed.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the water, corn syrup, 1 tablespoon of canola oil, lime juice, lemon juice, cilantro, white vinegar, and onion powder; pour dressing over barley mixture, and toss to combine. Refrigerate salad until cold.