I made this hearty grain salad on whim based on what I happened to have in my pantry one lazy Sunday afternoon. After demonstrating the steps on my instagram stories, I received a lot of positive feedback requesting the complete recipe. It is always such a nice reminder of the incredible community that instagram has fostered. I am so happy to have the continued inspiration and support that encourages me to keep providing nutritious and simple recipes.
Grain salads are always a staple in my cooking repertoire. They are easy to make, versatile, and provide fantastic leftovers. Since produce is currently a little slim at the greenmarket, this grain salad is full of roasted carrots, herbs, crispy chickpeas, crunchy cucumbers, and finished with a dijon sherry vinaigrette. Once the gorgeous produce of spring and summer come in, carrots can easily be joined by fava beans, asparagus, or peas, and fresh arugula can be tossed in at the very end for a punchy and vibrant finish.
I recommend using hulled barley over pearled. Hulled barley is also known as barley groats. It is the whole form of the grain with only the outer layer removed. Pearled barley has been processed a little further. The husk and bran layers have been removed, and therefore pearled barley is not considered a whole grain. It is less nutritious, has a shorter cooking time, and is softer to the bite. Hulled barley contains more protein and fiber, has a longer cooking time, and is more chewy and textured.
barley and roasted carrot salad with crispy chickpeas
- 1 cup hulled barley, rinsed, soaked for 12 hours (optional), and rinsed again
- 3 cups filtered water or vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup olive, melted coconut, or avocado oil, separated
- 6 medium sized carrots, peeled and trimmed
- 2 tablespoons za'atar
- 2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons cayenne
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 medium sized Persian cucumber, cubed
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two sheet trays with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons oil, za'atar, sesame seeds, cayenne, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss carrots in the spice mixture and transfer to one of the sheet trays. In another bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon oil, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the chickpeas and coat well with the spice mixture. Transfer chickpeas to the second sheet tray. Place both sheet trays in the oven. Toss chickpeas every 10 minutes. Rotate carrots halfway through cooking. Chickpeas and carrots will both take around 30 minutes. Ideally you want the chickpeas to become crispy and crunchy. Carrots should be browned and tender.
- While the carrots and chickpeas cook, make the barley. Combine the water or stock and barley in a saucepan with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer. For hulled barley, cook for 40 minutes. For pearled, cook for 25 minutes. You will be able to tell that the barley is done when it has tripled in volume and is tender and chewy. If the pan becomes dry before the barley has finished cooking, add additional water. Once the barley is done, drain if necessary and fluff with a fork.
- In a large bowl, whisk together dijon mustard, 1/4 cup olive oil, sherry vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Taste dressing and adjust, if needed. You want it to be on the acidic side. Add the cucumbers, scallions, parsley, and warm barley, and toss together.
- Once the carrots and chickpeas are finished cooking, let cool slightly. Once the carrots are cool enough to handle, roughly chop. Toss chickpeas and carrots into the bowl with the barley, and gently fold together. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days.