The main component of this salad is barley, a grain that has a nutty flavor and chewy texture similar to pasta. It’s a great source of fiber (1 cup, cooked has 13 grams fiber), selenium, phosphorus, and copper to name a few.
Chickpea adds protein, additional fiber and crunch to the salad. Cherry tomatoes are in season so I am trying to use it in everything before they disappear. Chopped dates adds sweetness and complements the tangy, creamy goat cheese and cumin-kissed dressing very well.
Barley & Chickpea Salad with Dates & Goat Cheese
makes 5-6 servings
1/2 cup barley, uncooked
2 cups water or stock (I used water)
1-14 oz. canned chickpea, drained and rinsed
6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
8 dates, chopped (I used mejdool)
1.5 tablespoon olive oil
2.5-3 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cumin powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
2 oz mild goat cheese (I used this)
salt and pepper, to taste
– In a medium sauce pan, bring water/stock, barley and salt to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about 45 minutes, or until tender and the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and set aside.
– In a small bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice, cumin powder, cinnamon powder, red chili powder.
– In a mixing bowl, add barley, chickpeas, dates, tomatoes and drizzle the dressing making sure everything is well coated. Add salt and pepper and adjust other seasonings as necessary.
– Stir in goat cheese and garnish with chopped cilantro.
– Refrigerate for 30 minutes (preferably) or serve right away.
– It can be eaten either cold or warm.
This is a pretty flexible salad, use what you have, substitute with what you prefer. Here are few recommendations:
– Instead of barley, try quinoa or wheat berries.
– Feta is a good substitute for goat cheese.
– Cilantro can be easily replaced with parsley, mint or basil.
– Do not skip the dates or the dressing – they are essential in this salad.