My daughter-in-law, Lindsay served this lovely Greek-Style Avocado and Barley Salad recently at a family get-together. "This has to be the prettiest salad ever!" I said, as it was passed around the table. Then I tasted it. Wow! Not only was it beautiful, but fabulously delicious too.
It's become one of our favorite salads, one that I know I'll be making again and again. And you know what? This is one of those salads that's super versatile and could take on a zillion different faces.
Lindsay used farro for her salad. I substituted barley, but either works well. Quinoa would also be delicious, as would Israeli couscous. You could add cucumbers, fresh corn, raw or grilled zucchini, heirloom tomatoes, bell peppers, etc. I've used Salata Ricotta in place of the Feta cheese, which was wonderful; but shaved Parmesan would be a delightful substitution as well. See what I mean about versatile?
This Greek-Style Avocado and Barley Salad is perfect for serving a crowd, but it also keeps well and leftovers make delicious lunches for school or work. It's a perfect meal served on it's own or as a side to grilled entrees. Try it, I think you'll love it as much as we do!
P.S. Scott and I are in California this week. We're loving it and have already packed in a ton of adventures, with a family wedding, a visit to an avocado ranch and now, a trip up the lovely California coast. We'll be sharing pictures later this week.
- 1 ½ cups uncooked barley
- 3 cups water
- Ingredients for the almonds:
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon melted butter
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt or fine sea salt
- Ingredients for the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Ingredients for the salad:
- 1 5- ounce bag baby arugula
- 1 large Ripe California Avocado pitted, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved or quartered
- ½ medium red onion thinly sliced
- ¼ cup Kalamata olives halved
- ½ cup Feta cheese crumbled
Combine barley and water in a medium size pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cover with lid slightly ajar. Cook for 35-45 minutes or until water has been absorbed. Remove from heat, stir and allow to cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 325˚F. Combine almonds, olive oil and salt in a medium size baking pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown, stirring to redistribute after 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Combine all dressing ingredients in a glass jar and shake well to combine. Set aside.
Combine cooked and cooled barley, avocado, arugula, tomatoes, red onion and olives in a large serving bowl (or platter). Add the prepared dressing and toss gently to coat. Taste and add a bit more salt, if needed. Top with Feta cheese and toasted almonds.