I went to a farmer’s market in Colorado Springs last week with a friend and her daughter. It was very different from my California markets with booth after booth overflowing with fresh local produce. In fact, there was only one fresh produce vendor and I was a little sad until I spied a crate filled with fragrant fresh basil.
Basil is magical! By far one of my favorite flavors to use in stir fries, salads, drinks, even baked goods. To make this salad I paired the farmer’s market basil with barley, pine nuts, and a hint of lemon to create “summer comfort food”. The flavors are simple, fresh, healthy, and even approved by two tasters under age two. 😉
The recipe makes enough to serve 8, so if you are a smaller household, there are plenty of leftovers with which to be creative! Some ideas:
We initially enjoyed the barley salad with some grass-fed short ribs we made in the crock pot. We used the Godfather’s cafe con chile rub (which he won’t let me share the recipe for) and then added a few other things (honey, etc) inspired by this recipe on PaleOMG.
The next morning, I took about 1 1/2 cups of the barley salad, added an egg, a bit of cheese, and cooked it into barley cakes. I topped those with an easy-over egg and added a bit of avocado – amazing brunch! The Godfather even requested it again for breakfast the next day.
Of course, it’s perfect on its own. It’s best served warm, but can be served at room temperature as well.
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 2 cups pearl barley, rinsed
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon
- 1 tsp salt
- Melt the butter in a pot large enough to cook the barley over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and toast, stirring constantly, so they don't burn. Remove from the pot and set aside.
- Add the barley and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the broth, bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and allow to simmer for 25 minutes until the barley is soft and the broth has been absorbed. Stir occasionally and check the liquid levels to be sure the barley doesn't dry out and stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Once the barley is cooked, remove from the heat.
- Add the pine nuts, barley, olive oil, fresh lemon, and salt. Stir to combine.
- Adjust any seasonings as desired. Serve warm.