This recipe for my Savory Barley Salad with Preserved Lemon came about out of a need for a change from the usual rice or pasta side dish. Although I will admit I had been toying around with the idea of integrating my new batch of Preserved Lemons with Fennel into something this week, barley was on my mind tonight.
I have made preserved lemons before and my Preserved Lemons – Moroccan Style are great in spicy dishes like my Chicken Tagine with Chickpeas, Olives and Preserved Lemon, but I wanted a savory, cold grain salad and knew they would be perfect in it. If you don’t have any preserved lemons on hand, you can substitute – READ on!
I had thought the addition of chopped water chestnuts would add some crunch to the nutty, delicious barley and the herbed dressing and vegetables made this into a perfect side dish.
In my recipe for the Preserved Lemons with Fennel I used Meyer lemons instead of regular lemons. Their lemon/mandarin orange hybrid flavor has a yellow-orange flesh and a super smooth rind with a sweeter flavor. After patiently waiting the 30 days to preserve and work their delicious magic the lemons were ready to be tasted and used!
First remove a preserved lemon from the jar and rinse it off. With a spoon, scrape the inside pulp off the skin and discard.
Slice the soft and velvety skin into long strips, then again across into small dice.
If you don’t have any preserved lemons on hand, you can substitute. I would recommend lightly sautéeing half a lemon, peel only, for a minute or two in just a bit of light oil with some salt. Squeeze some lemon juice over, cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes on low heat. Add water if you need more liquid. Then I’d chop it and use it with the pan juices. Preserved lemon has a much more mellow quality than fresh. I would not substitute fresh, it’s too acidic.
Next, let’s dice up a half of a red onion. Nice small, bite size dice so as not to overwhelm. Some fresh, chopped parsley and crushed and chopped garlic get put into a bowl with the red onion.
In a small bowl whisk together the dijon mustard, olive oil, white balsamic vinegar into a thick dressing and add to the diced vegetables and parsley. Season with crushed black pepper and kosher salt. Add the diced preserved lemons and chopped water chestnuts. Allow this to rest the flavors meld as you cook your barley.
After the barley has cooked, rinse and allow to cool. Add the dressing to the barley and mix to coat evenly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
The exotic, lemony goodness from the diced, preserved lemons, the tangy white balsamic vinegar dressing mixed with the mustard and fresh herbs makes for a palette explosion.
The light crunch from the water chestnuts, red onions and barley are delightful in texture and taste. This is perfect for a side dish or all on its own. I really like this as a cold salad, it’s flavor and visual appeal make it one to remember and it’s super healthy and good for you. Enjoy!
Savory Barley Salad with Preserved Lemon
- 1 cup dry barley
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 olive oil
- 1/4 white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- cracked black pepper to taste
- 2 garlic cloves crushed and chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 red onion diced
- 1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts
- 1/3 cup diced preserved lemons
- In a large saucepan over medium heat combine the water, salt and barley and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 45 minutes until tender.
- While the barley is cooking chop the red onion, water chestnuts and preserved lemon into small dice. Chop the parsley.
- In a medium bowl use a whisk to make the dressing with the olive oil, dijon mustard and white balsamic vinegar. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Add the diced red onion, water chestnuts, garlic, preserved lemon and parsley to the dressing, mix and allow to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- When the barley is done cooking remove from heat, drain and allow to cool. Pour the dressing over the barley, stir to coat evenly and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Serve cold.