Barley Salad with Almonds and Apricots
Here’s a Middle-Eastern inspired barley salad that’s a nice offering for buffets and potlucks. Its slight sweetness makes it a good foil for other Middle Eastern specialties like hummus, tabbouli, and baba ghanouj. Note that pot barley, a less refined form of barley than the common pearled barley sold in supermarkets, is offered as an alternative. Sold in natural food stores, it’s not only more nutritious, but cooks to a less sticky consistency. This is great with ordinary barley as well.
Serves: 8 or more
- 1 cup pearl barley (or substitute pot barley—see note above)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup moist dried apricots, sliced
- 1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds
- 1 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1 cup plain coconut or soy yogurt
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- Juice of l/2 to 1 lemon, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon, cumin, and salt
- Pinch of nutmeg
Rinse the barley in a fine sieve. Bring 3 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Stir in the barley, return to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the water is absorbed, about 40 to 45 minutes (if using pot barley, you’ll need 4 1/2 cups water and a bit more cooking time. Let the barley cool to room temperature.
Heat the oil in a small skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium until golden brown. In a serving dish, combine the cooked barley, onion, apricots, almonds, and parsley, and toss together.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and whisk together. Pour over the barley mixture and toss well to combine. Serve at room temperature.