This salad was inspired by this recipe from “Save the Kales” and of course by what I had lying around in my kitchen… obviously I was out of wheat berries, but I had an avocado, a fresh bunch of broccoli and sunflower seeds.  Making a pesto using avocado and sunflower seeds seemed like a wonderfully yummy idea.

Knowing I had some barley in the pantry, but not entirely sure if I would have time to make the salad, I decided to throw some in my rice cooker (1 cup, rinsed and drained, with 3 cups water and a pinch of salt) and let her go while the kids and I went swimming.

Just a note – barely makes a mess of your rice cooker. It leaves behind a sticky and slimy goo. It also takes  a while so plan accordingly.

So back from swimming I had a crew to feed. I tossed up this salad while my husband grilled some veggies on the Q. This salad is creamy and fresh tasting. I loved the addition of the sun-dried tomatoes. barley and broccoli salad

Broccoli and Barley Salad with Avocado and Sun-dried Tomatoes

  • 1 cup barley + 3 cups water, cooked in rice cooker (35-40 minutes)
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 cups broccoli florets, broken in bite sized pieces
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomato
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • zest of half of lemon, plus juice of half
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cayenne pepper, a pinch
  • 2 cloves garlic

I used the rice cooker to cook the barley. Otherwise, cook 1 cup in 3 cups of water using the same method as you would brown rice (that is, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until water is absorbed, 35-40 minutes). My rice cooker has a keep warm feature, so I turn it on and it will keep the grains nice and warm all day until I come back to it for dinner.  Ensure you rinse the barley well before cooking, it can be dusty, and pick out any pebbles etc., that may have found their way into the bag.  Allow the barley to cool completely before using in the salad by running under cold water. Drain completely.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Cook broccoli until bright green and just slightly tender…. about 2 minutes. You want  it still to be crunchy. Run under cooled running water to cool and stop the cooking.

For the dressing… in a food processor, add about half of the cooked broccoli, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, sun flower seeds, lemon zest and lemon juice, garlic and cayenne pepper and pulse until creamy, scraping down sides as needed.  Taste for seasonings, add salt and pepper as needed.

Mix barley, broccoli and dressing in a large bowl. Serve.

5 reasons you should add more barley to your life:

  • it’s a whole grain and full of dietary fibre – both the soluble and insoluble kind
  • it’s a good source of selenium, iron, magnesium and a bunch of other vits and minerals
  • contains a good amount of various phytochemicals – which are excellent for fighting things like diabetes, cancer and heart disease
  • it can help lower cholesterol
  • 1 cup cooked (pearled barley) – about 1 serving size if eating this salad as a meal – contains 6 g of fibre and 3.5 grams of protein.