Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bean and Barley Salad

This, my friends, could very well be the perfect spring dish.

Serve it as a side dish.

Scoop it on top of a fresh green salad topped with shredded cheddar.

Serve it as a light main dish, with tortilla chips for scooping.

Stuff it inside tortillas for a meatless burrito.  Or add shredded chicken to it and then stuff it inside tortillas.

Stuff it inside pita pockets with lettuce and feta cheese.

The serving variations for this dish are practically endless, and it's so easy and inexpensive to make.  The barley and beans are a terrific combination of whole grains, fiber, and protein.  Add the olive oil in the dressing (good fat) and we've got a winner.

Another plus for this recipe is the number of ways you can make it your own.  You could add sliced black olives, cheese, tortilla strips.  You could mix up the flavors to give it a more Mediterranean or Asian flair.

Bean and Barley Salad
3/4 cup barley
1 can light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 red pepper, finely chopped
6 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over barley and bean mixture.  Chill, covered, until ready to serve.

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