Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mediterranean Roasted Veggie Barley Salad

I went about this dish in a backwards way.  Before even deciding on a recipe, I chopped up all the veggies from my CSA and whatever else I had in the fridge, drizzled them with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, and put them in the oven to roast.  I knew I wanted to make some kind of barley salad with them, but I wasn’t sure on the seasonings.  Next, I began a pot of barley, and only then did I begin the recipe search.

After much searching (I’m really indecisive!) I finally settled upon a recipe that was perfect because I already had most of the veggies roasting!  I didn’t really follow the recipe, per se, but used it as a guideline for flavors that would work well.

This is similar to other grain salads I’ve made in the past, but different enough to have a completely new & refreshing taste.  I loved the spicy/sweet/tangy flavor from the dressing, and the richness in flavor from roasting the veggies.  The barley has quite a different texture than quinoa or couscous (the grains I turn to most frequently it seems), and might be more approachable to someone new to this type of dish.  I brought it to a work potluck and was disappointed to discover there was none left!  I can’t wait to get my next box of CSA veggies, because I just might have to make this again!


Mediterranean Roasted Veggie Barley Salad

loosely adapted from Epicurious


1 1/2 pound eggplant, cut into slices, then quartered
3/4 pound squash, cut into slices, then quartered
2 bell peppers, sliced in half, seeds & core removed
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, quartered
extra-virgin olive oil (to drizzle on veggies)
salt & pepper to taste

1 1/4 cups quick cooking barley
2 1/2 cups water or chicken broth (I used 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, and 1 cup water)
(I just happened to have the quick barley on hand, feel free to use pearled barley, just be sure to add more water or broth)

3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon sugar
salt & pepper to taste

1/3 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and halved
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled


Preheat oven to 425°F. Spread chopped veggies out onto 2 oiled large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pans. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste. (Make sure the bell peppers are skin side up.) Roast vegetables in oven, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, adding more salt and pepper if necessary, until vegetables are golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes total. Transfer roasted veggies to one pan once cooled. Remove skin from peppers, chop.

Bring water/broth to boil in a medium saucepan, add quick cook barley, cover and reduce heat. Simmer 10 minutes, and remove from heat. Spread barley out on the empty baking pan to cool.

In a large bowl whisk together lemon juice, garlic, 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, cumin, coriander, cayenne, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add barley, roasted vegetables, and black olives to bowl with dressing and toss until combined well. Top with feta cheese.

If you’re interested in more grain & vegetable salads, you might like this Couscous Salad with Butternut Squash & Cranberry; Lemon Cumin Quinoa with Avocado, Raisins, & Apricots; or this Barley & Bean Salad.

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