Pearl barley, turkey and asparagus salad with lime tahini dressing

IMG_3973 I cant help but feel a little sorry for the ol’ traditional grains. For with the emergence of the new ‘cool’ grains (freekeh, millet, teff… I’m looking at you!) well some of the ones I grew up with seem to have been forgotten.  Perhaps even labelled a little dorky. I’m sure they will be rediscovered again by the populous at some point, but for now they appear to have been cast to one side. Or to the back of the pantry, at least. Well not in this household. For I am loving pearl barley at the moment. Cheap, quick and easy to prepare, and so much more versatile than simply being a a staple in my Mum’s vegetable soup! IMG_3955IMG_3956 Recently, I cooked up a batch of pearl barley and used it as the ‘filler’ in our dinner salad. Combined with zucchini, grilled asparagus, mint, chives and craisins – and dressed in a lime/tahini dressing, well it was a rather tasty addition to our weekly menu plan. IMG_3963 On this occasion, I opted to add some grilled turkey breasts for a little extra protein kick. But I have no doubt the salad would have worked fine by itself as a vegetarian main or side dish. IMG_3969 Yes, pearl barley, I have not forgotten you or your wonderful nutty chewiness! You are a keeper, for sure. Pearl barley, turkey and asparagus salad – serves 2

  • 1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 zucchini, cut into ribbons
  • mint leaves and chopped chives
  • 1 tbs craisins
  • 2 turkey breast steaks, pan-fried and sliced.
  • 1 tbs tahini
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  1. Place pearl barley in 1.5 cups water in a small saucepan. Cover and simmer for 35 minutes or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, spray asparagus with a little olive oil and season. Grill until tender then slice. Blanch zucchini in boiling water, then drain.
  3. Combine the tahini, olive oil and lime juice in a small bowl, and set aside.
  4. Place prepared pearl barley, asparagus, zucchini, herbs and craisins in a bowl and toss to combine. Divide among serving plates, top with sliced turkey and drizzle with the lime tahini dressing.

What about you? Are you a fan of pearl barley?