Barley is typically eaten in a pudding for breakfast or dessert in Egypt, but in this recipe from cookbook author Suzanne Zeidy, it’s turned into a hearty salad, seasoned with cumin and chiles, and tossed with grilled vegetables, feta, and pistachios.
Featured in: Lunch at the Desert’s Edge
- 2 1⁄4 cups pearl barley
- 2 large zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 1 medium eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and halved
- 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 oz. feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 cup loosely packed arugula
- 1 cup loosely packed cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 1⁄4 cup pistachios
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 long red chile, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
- In a large bowl, soak the barley in water for 1 hour and then drain. Meanwhile, light a grill. Brush the zucchini, eggplant, and peppers with 1⁄4 cup of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables, turning, until tender and charred, 10 minutes. Transfer to a board and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces.
- Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil and add the barley. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until tender, 45 minutes. Drain the barley and let cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 1⁄4 cup olive oil with the lemon juice, cumin, coriander, and garlic, and then stir in the cooked barley, season with salt and pepper, and transfer to a serving platter. Arrange the zucchini, eggplant, and peppers with the feta, arugula, cilantro, pistachios, scallions, and chile over the barley to serve.