Well, it has been a busy week around these parts and I’m afraid this weekend is quickly slipping away too. I’ve found myself occupied by a range of different work and home projects that have not left much time for cooking and blogging!
I am pleased to report that one of my “home projects” has been visiting our local farmers market though. In the Bay Area, we had access to a farmers’ market almost every day of the week, year around. And while we don’t quite have that here, we do have a very nice year-round (weekly for half of the year and biweekly for the other half) farmers’ market within walking distance of our house. All of the produce is from within a 100-mile radius—which is great—but unfortunately not as much of it is organic. Oh the trade-offs!
The produce from our farmers’ market and a delicious recipe recommended to me by my sister-in-law inspired today’s salad. The original recipe was for pearl couscous with olives and roasted tomatoes, but I modified it a bit to fit what I had on hand and what I found at the farmers market. I replaced the pearl couscous with barley and substituted feta cheese for the olives; some crazy person in our house doesn’t like olives —I won’t mention any names, but it’s definitely not me :). I also added some red bell pepper, and used a slightly different combination of fresh herbs. I definitely kept the roasted cherry tomatoes and roasted tomato dressing though.
If you are near a farmers’ market and tomatoes are in season, pick some up and give this salad a try!
Barley, Feta and Roasted Tomato Salad
Inspired by this recipe
- 1-pint red and/or yellow cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- Extra-virgin olive oil (for drizzling)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- salt to taste
- 3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup warm water
- Zest from 1 small lemon
- Juice from 1 small lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups barley
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
- Feta cheese (I think I used an entire 8 oz package, but would recommend using only half of that)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Arrange tomatoes, cut sides up, in a single layer in a large shallow baking pan. Drizzle with a good amount of olive oil and sprinkle with sugar and salt. Stir tomatoes to make sure the oil, sugar and salt are evenly distributed. Add garlic to pan and roast in the oven until the tomatoes are slightly shriveled and are starting to caramelize around the edges (about 45 min to 1 hour). Cool on the pan for 30 minutes or so.
For the dressing, peel the garlic and purée with oil, warm water, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and 1/2 of the roasted tomatoes in a blender until very smooth. Roasted tomatoes and dressing can be made a day or two ahead.
Prepare barley according to package directions and allow it to cool for 15-20 minutes. Transfer barley to a large bowl and stir in diced bell pepper, basil, mint, remaining roasted tomatoes, dressing, feta, and salt and pepper to taste.
Tasty Easy Healthy Green Recipe Ratings:
|Recipe Report Card||Notes About Recipe Ratings|
Four Chefs (Delicious!)
|We loved the sweetness of the tomatoes and the nutty flavor of the toothsome barley, however, I think I went a little crazy with the feta because the salad overall was a little too salty. Next time I make it, I will probably cut the amount of feta in half.|
Three Easy Chairs (Average Difficulty)
|There is some prep time involved in roasting the tomatoes, making the dressing, and cooking the barley, but if you make some of it ahead of time, the salad can easily be part of a weeknight meal.|
Four Apples (Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise)
|The veggie and grain combination is a healthy one and if you cut down on the feta it will reduce the fat and sodium in the salad.|
Three Leaves (Average Environmental Friendliness)
|The veggies and basil were local and organic and the garlic, lemon, olive oil, and mint were organic, but the feta and barley were not.|