Looking for a hearty and healthy alternative for dinner tonight? How about this Barley Salad with Apricot and Pine Nuts? Served as is, with shredded chicken, or like we had the other evening, grilled shrimp, this is a satisfying and tasty salad. Who doesn’t like a salad thats a meal?
In my continuous pursuit of eating better I am trying out more and more grains, beans and lentils to keep things, and you, interested. I believe this is one salad that will get pushed into the meal rotation it’s that good.
You could even make the barley the night before and this mid-week dinner comes together in no time at all. Steamed barley takes about 30 minutes for a chewy, delicious grain. It is quick to absorb flavorings like a dressing and makes for a great cold salad.
After the barley gets steamed I drop in the fresh sliced shallots and chopped apricots, cover with the lid again to soften and permeate the barley. The savory shallots and sweet pop of flavor from the dried, chopped apricots are a great combination. After the salad gets cooled it gets mixed with the fresh, chopped basil.
Big, bold, bright flavors are the result and the textures of the chewy barley, fresh basil and toasted pine nuts make this another winner.
The tart and peppery apple cider salad dressing make this barley salad, and it all comes together when mixed with fresh baby spinach leaves. Easy enough, right?
For those who want a protein, I like to add shredded chicken or like we did the other evening mixed in some quickly pan seared shrimp or from the grill. This salad is a great base for whatever you’d like to add.
See, healthy, good for you food doesn’t have to be boring, and truth be told, this barley salad was even better leftover the next day for lunch. Enjoy!
- 1 cup pearled barley
- 3 cups water
- 12 dried apricots chopped
- 1 large shallot sliced thin
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt separated
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup fresh basil chopped
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
- Bring the barley, water and 1/2 tsp kosher salt to a boil. Reduce to simmer, covered, and cook for 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the sliced shallots and chopped apricots. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes.
- Drain any excess liquid, but it should all be absorbed. Chill in a bowl in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- In a small sauté pan lightly toast pine nuts until golden and set aside. In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, oil, other 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper. Pour dressing over barley, add basil and spinach and stir to mix.
- Serve chilled with toasted pine nuts on top.