Salads are perfect for hot, humid summer evenings. They come together so quickly. They require no heating source so your air conditioning doesn't have to go into overdrive keeping your apartment cool. However, lettuce topped with chopped veggies can get a little boring. Adding grains is a great way to step up your salad to that next level. If you really want to put it over the top, add some dried fruit and nuts. Make your way to the fresh greens section of your grocery store and try something new. Chickpeas make a great alternative to meat as your protein source.
This recipe is adapted from my cooking for one cookbook, Serve Yourself. Originally it was designed with farro but I subbed barley because I had that in my pantry. It was refreshing and delicious!
Barley Salad with Chickpeas (adapted from Serve Yourself cookbook)
2 tbsp chopped pecans
1 cup cooked pearl barley, cooled
1/3 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup lightly packed arugula leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup canned diced tomatoes including juice
2 tbsp dried cherries
1 green onion, thinly sliced
6 large mint leaves, thinly sliced
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Toast the pecans in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until they turn dark brown and smell fragrant. Remove to a plate to cool.
Combine the pecans, barley, chickpeas, arugula, tomatoes, cherries, green onion, and mint in a bowl. Mix. Drizzle with the oil and vinegar and mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.