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Roasted Vegetable Barley Salad

130509 roasted vegetable barley salad

See, now, this is why you want to keep a stash of roasted vegetables on hand.

The evening I made this salad, I had absolutely no idea what dinner would be. I only knew that I had a drawer full of random vegetables on the brink of spoilage. The decision to roast them: simple. And their ultimate use: also simple, especially now that Trader Joe’s has smashed a massive weeknight-cooking obstacle with their new line of par-cooked whole grains—barley, farro, and bulgur.

130509 trader joe barley

This barley really was tender in just over 10 minutes, rather than the usual 40 to 50. Which meant that I went from “what the heck should I make?” to “dinner’s ready!” before Harry could even muster a decent whine for a hot dog.* That night I tossed in olives for salty, briny punch, Aleppo pepper for subtle heat, and toasted pine nuts for extra crunch, but the variations are endless. And it works equally well warm, room temperature, or chilled.

You know how much I love a whole grain salad. Thanks to TJ’s and my vegetable-roasting habit, my world just exploded into a million sparkly new possibilities.

* You won’t be surprised to learn that Harry ate olives and pine nuts for dinner that night.

Roasted Vegetable Barley Salad
Serves 4

2 to 3 cups of roasted vegetables
3 cups cooked barley (from about 1 1/2 cups raw)
One 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Large handful parsley leaves
12 olives, quartered
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan
2 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Up to 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (use the full amount if you like tartness)
salt & pepper
1/8 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, optional
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

  1. In a large mixing bowl, toss together vegetables, barley, chickpeas, and parsley.
  2. Put Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt & pepper, and Aleppo pepper into a small, airtight container. Close and shake well, until fully combined, then pour over salad and toss.
  3. Sprinkle pine nuts on top and serve.

MAKE BABY FOOD: Plain roasted vegetables are a lovely texture for new eaters—puree, mash them with a fork, or serve as finger food. If your starting finger foods, grains of barley are good practice for the pincer grip. And if your baby’s well-versed in finger foods, the whole salad is safe—chop the pine nuts to prevent any chance of choking. (You don’t necessarily have to leave out the Aleppo pepper for a baby—some little ones like spice! You know better than I what your baby can handle.)

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Robin Lewis

    What’s Aleppo pepper and is it more of a specialty spice that regular grocery stores would carry? (Does TJ’s?) Also, what kind of olives do you recommend? Eg regular black are just kind of salty vs kalamata or green etc… Thanks.

    1. Debbie Koenig

      Aleppo pepper is a medium-spicy pepper with a pretty complex flavor, so you get much more than heat. I LOVE it. Not a supermarket item, unfortunately, but if you don’t have a fancier market near you it’s easy to mail-order from Penzeys. I’d say it’s well worth it! Here’s a bit more:

      I keep kalamata olives on hand all the time–they’re my go-to. I’ve never been a fan of the canned black ones! Not enough flavor for me. In this recipe, though, you could use whatever you like. It’s flexible!

  2. Robin Lewis

    I found the Aleppo pepper at our little local Middle Eastern grocery store! So excited to make this salad this weekend.

  3. Robin Lewis

    This is delicious and a keeper. Even warmed up a bit (Chicago has been really cold this past week) and without the pine nuts (I keep forgetting to add them).

  4. Robin Lewis

    I can’t get enough of this salad. I’ve made it with barley, once with whole wheat Orzo, and right now I am cooking farro for the batch today. I now also crave roasted vegetables and make them often and love them on their own. Thanks!

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