I honestly cannot believe that it has been nearly one-year since I returned home from my European adventure. Not a day goes by where I don’t think about something from my trip, somewhere that we visited, something that I ate. We were able to visit Green on our trip and I really loved all of the ancient ruins, beautifully painted houses and classic Greek cuisine!
One of the things that I remember being most excited for during our travels to Greece was the cuisine. I have always been a fan of classic Greek dishes including tzatziki, moussaka and spanakopita. The fresh ingredients used in Mediterranean cooking have always been of interest to to me and getting to experience different dishes during our stay in Athens was a culinary delight! Any of the dishes involving kalamata olives, feta cheese or oregano were a welcome treat on my plate.
Classic Greek cuisine involves a lot of olive oil, grains, fresh vegetables, fish and olives. The most common used grains are wheat and barley. The history of these grains is that they were somewhat inexpensive in ancient times and were a staple in many dishes. Barley was also seen as a remedy for the sick so it would be prescribed to use it in cooking to help cure sick patients. You’ll find it in a lot of classic Greek recipes including this Barley and Pomegranate Salad!
Barley and Pomegranate Salad
I’m always looking for new and unique summer side dishes and while paging through my collection of European cookbooks that I purchased after my trip I found this delicious salad. The recipe features cooked barley, salty feta cheese and a delightful dressing that brings all of the flavors together. This recipe is perfect on to serve at a summer cookout or I really love it all on its own for a light lunch. If you’re like me, your summer herbs are in abundance so now is a great time to give this salad a try!
- 11/4 cups pearl barley
- 7 ounces feta cheese
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds, plus extra for garnish
- ½ cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
- For the dressing
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Sea salt and cracked pepper
- Bring 3 cups of salted water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Rinse the pearl barley and add to the pan. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the barley has softened. Drain, then place in a bowl and cook to room temperature
- Cut the feta into cubes and add to the barley with the remaining salad ingredients. Mix together.
- Combine the dressing ingredients tin a small bowl and pour over the salad. Toss gently to coat. Sprinkle extra mint and parsley leaves as well as pomegranate seeds onto the salad. Allow the salad to sit for 30 minutes before serving.
Recipe courtesy of My Greek Family Table