Middle eastern style Barley salad- This is a twist to the classic Tabbouleh and uses cooked pearl barley, fresh herbs, nuts and lots of veggies. This vegan barley salad makes for a hearty lunch when served with some toasted bread or a filling smoothie.
Welcome summer and warm days with this hearty, chewy and healthy salad. Last week, I shared how to cook pearl barley. And this is what I made with all that cooked barley.
If I have to describe this salad, I would call it a spin-off of the popular Tabbouleh. Who does not love a Tabbouleh? Fresh herbs, chewy barley, lots of veggies all go into this salad along with some crunchy toasted nuts
You need cooked pearl barley for this recipe. Cooking barley in an instant pot is so easy. Check out how to cook pearl barley and then let us get started with the salad. For this salad, cooked and cooled barley works best. Please do not add it while it is hot. Allow it to cool fully before tossing it in the salad.
The crunchier, the better.Bring those cukes, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes. All of these add more zest, flavor and texture to our salad.
The moment I hear middle eastern, only one herb calls out to me – Parsley. In fact, tabbouleh= parsley. The more parsley, the better. And the finer you chop the parsley, the more the flavors.Time to bring out that mezzaluna, peeps.
Apart from parsley, I have also added mint and cilantro. You can give the cilantro a miss but mint and parsley are mighty important here.
Not only do the toasted nuts add some crunch but they also contribute to the protein. Toasted almonds, walnuts and pistachios all work well here. Choose either one or a combination. And don’t forget to reserve a few nuts to add as a topping to your salad before serving.
And finally, this is what makes this salad amazing. A combination of lemon juice, olive oil and za’atar can never go wrong. Never. The first time I discovered za’atar, I definitely underestimated it.
But it has quickly climbed to the top spot on my favorite spices list. For the uninitiated, Za’atar is a middle eastern spice blend. It has dried oregano, thyme, marjoram and toasted sesame seeds with sumac.
While I won’t recommend skipping this, you can try to mimic the flavors by making your own za’atar spice blend. Combine 1 tbsp tsp each dried thyme, dried oregano, dried marjoram and toasted sesame seeds with 1/4 c sumac and 2 tbsp chili flakes in a small jar and shake well.
You can use za’atar as a topping on breads, yogurt or any salads that you whip up.
Other than the za’atar, our dressing has the usual suspects like garlic, olive oil and lemon juice.
A salad should never be restricted to one ingredient. You can use cooked farro, quinoa or even brown rice to make this salad. Just swap one of these ingredients with the barley.
You can also add dried raisins, cranberries, finely chopped apricots and some crumbled feta cheese. All these add so much flavor and texture to this salad. While these are not traditional tabbouleh ingredients, it is ok to add more nutrition, right?
How to serve barley tabbouleh?
Barley tabbouleh tastes great when served chilled as a meal on its own. You can also serve this with grilled chicken or bring it to a summer barbeque party.
You can also go the traditional mezze platter route and serve this with some crunchy pita chips, hummus, baba ganoush, dolma and falafels.
Another option would be to add them to wraps or gyros. A combination of this salad, some falafels and a creamy hummus in some pita pockets is something that everyone at my home loves.
Cooking pearl barley
Wash the barley well.
Place the barley in a colander and wash it well.
To the inner insert of your Instant pot, add the washed barley and water along with 1 tsp salt.
Ensure that the sealing ring is in its correct place in the lid.
Close the IP with the lid. Turn the valve to SEALING.
Now switch on the PRESSURE COOK MODE ON HIGH FOR 15 MINS.
Allow the cooking cycle to complete.
When the cooking cycle is complete, do a natural pressure release for 15 mins.
After 15 mins, quick-release pressure by turning the valve to venting.
When done, strain the cooked pearl barley in a colander.
Make the dressing first
In a small glass jar, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, za’atar, crushed pepper and salt. Skip the salt if your za’atar has salt added in it. You can use 1 clove garlic that has been grated in place of the garlic powder too.
Close the jar and shake it well to mix all the ingredients. Set aside.
Making barley salad
In a bowl, add the cooked barley, veggies and herbs in that order. Mix well. Now, pour the dressing over and stir to combine. Add the toasted nuts and mix.
Our middle eastern inspired barley salad is ready.
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Barley Salad- Middle eastern style Barley Tabbouleh
- Mixing bowl
For the barley
- 1/2 c Pearl barley
- 2.5 c Water
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
For the dressing
- 1.5 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 tbsp Lemon juice
- 2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tbsp Za'atar
- 1 tsp Garlic powder use 1 clove garlic grated instead for a substitute
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt or to taste
For the salad
- 2.5 c Cooked pearl barley
- 3/4 c chopped cucumbers
- 1/4 c chopped sweet peppers
- 12 small cherry tomatoes halved
- 1/2 c very finely chopped onions
- 1/2 c finely chopped parsley
- 1/2 c finely chopped coriander leaves
- 12 fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 c roughly chopped toasted almonds and walnuts
Cooking pearl barley
- Wash the barley well.
- Place the barley in a colander and wash it well.
- To the inner insert of your Instant pot, add the washed barley and water along with 1 tsp salt.
- Ensure that the sealing ring is in its correct place in the lid.
- Close the IP with the lid. Turn the valve to SEALING.
- Now switch on the PRESSURE COOK MODE ON HIGH FOR 15 MINS.
- Allow the cooking cycle to complete.
- When the cooking cycle is complete, do a natural pressure release for 15 mins.
- After 15 mins, quick-release pressure by turning the valve to venting.
- When done, strain the cooked pearl barley in a colander.
Making the dressing
- In a small glass jar, combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, za'atar, crushed pepper and salt.
- Skip the salt if your za'atar has salt added in it.
- You can use 1 clove garlic that has been grated in place of the garlic powder too.
- Close the jar and shake it well to mix all the ingredients. Set aside.
Making barley salad
- In a bowl, add the cooked barley, veggies and herbs in that order.
- Mix well. Now, pour the dressing over and stir to combine.
- Add the toasted nuts and mix.
- Our middle eastern inspired barley salad is ready.
For Instant Pot & Air Fryer Recipes
Instant Pot timings may vary based on your geographic location. Air fryer settings and timings may vary based on the capacity and the model of the Air fryer.
Nutrition values are provided here as a courtesy and are only a rough guide. Please consult a health care provider if you have any concerns.