Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Italian style barley salad

It is pretty obvious that I’ve been quiet on the blog recently. For those who know me, don’t worry, I’ve been making plenty noise in my professional life (that’s what being a lecturer is all about!) and at home. But work has been keeping me rather busy. And when you are busy, it is easy to forget to feed yourself well. You skip meals or don’t eat healthily.

In my constant quest to TRY to eat more healthily, I’m always trying to find tasty salad combinations. Nothing is more likely to drive you to a plate of chips than bland salad. So taste, texture and colour are all things I try to factor into a salad.

This is a recent experiment to invent a mid-week salad that takes little time to prepare, involves very little cooking and uses those deli-style ingredients. You know the type, those many of us buy when wandering around the supermarket and then have no idea what to do with (sun dried tomatoes, artichokes in oil, capers, caperberries, feta-stuffed peppers and the like).

I also wanted to find a use for some no-soak barley mix I’d bought. It cooks in 10 minutes in boiling water. Containing part-cooked barley and some green and yellow lentils I hoped it would add some nutty texture and wholegrain goodness, which it did admirably.


For 2 people.


2 tbsp roughly chopped flat leaf parsley (if you can't find flat leaf, don't bother with curled, just omit)
35g spinach, washed with the excess water drained off
80g Pedon Barley Mixture
8 halves sun dried tomatoes in oil, diced
1 handful (about 10) fine green beans, topped and halved
12-14 cherry tomatoes
1 packet (180g) grilled artichokes
3-5 spring onions, sliced diagonally
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
Optional: 1 packet pancetta slices (10-12 slices)

1. Put a pan of water on and bring to the boil. Put the barley mix in and set timer to 5 minutes. When the timer goes off add the green beans and reset the timer for another 5 minutes. Now drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

2. If using the pancetta, dry fry in a pan and set aside on kitchen paper to absorb the excess fat.

3. Put the spinach, spring onions, barley mix, beans and chopped parsley in a bowl.

4. Add your chopped sundried tomatoes and give a good mix up.

5. Divide in two and put in the bowls you will be serving the salad up in.

6. Now divide the cherry tomatoes and grilled artichokes between the two bowls.

7. In a mug, whisk up the lemon juice and olive oil for a simple dressing.

8. Drizzle over the salad in the bowls.

9. Now top with the pancetta and serve.