Friday, July 27, 2012

Food Friday: South of the border

Once upon a time, when not a lot of people read this blog, I made a summer barley salad. It wasn't anything remarkable so to speak but it was good - and a good way to use up the bounties of a prolific summer garden, which, incidentally, I did not have at the time.

And while my garden has yet to fill my fridge with zucchini and cucumbers, I found myself thinking of that salad as I wondered what to do with my beautiful squash. I ended up making Skinny Taste's Zucchini Tots (thumbs up from Mom and Miles) but still found myself thinking of barley ... and salad ... and barley and salad together.

I dug into the depths of my pantry and I pulled out the Ball jar full of barley. Sitting right next to it happened to be a can of black beans. I'm sure they were destined for greatness once upon a time but were now taking up quality shelf space.

Could I ... should I ... black beans in a barley salad?

The answer is yes. Definitely yes.

Joined with other fresh vegetables that you might be lucky enough to score at a farmers market, the black beans and barley came together for a flavorful, Mexican-inspired salad that could work well as a side or as a main course.

I made it in the beginning of the week and took it for lunch, serving it with a Golden Corn VitaTop though it would be nice with a tortilla soup, gazpacho or just some blue corn chips.

South of the Border Barley Salad

1 cup barley, uncooked
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
Pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup corn, frozen or off the cob
1 orange or yellow pepper, diced
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)
1/2 red onion, diced
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 ripe avocado
Kosher salt
1/4 cup canola oil
Handful fresh cilantro, stems removed

Cook barley according to the package directions; cool. In a bowl, toss together barley, beans, tomatoes, corn, bell pepper, jalapeno and onion. In a blender, combine lime juice, vinegar, garlic, avocado and salt. Blend until all ingredients are combined. With the blender on, add the canola oil in a thin stream; add cilantro and process until the leaves are chopped but visible. Add the dressing to the salad and toss lightly. Refrigerate for an hour or until ready to serve.


  1. I made those zucchini tots this week too and we all gobbled them up! I make a WW salad that's silimar to your South of the Border Salad. It's a black bean, mango and chicken salad and is my go to item for any summer gathering. If you haven't already tried it, you should!

  2. This salad sounds awesome. Definitely going to have to make zucchini tots too! We came home from a long weekend and have 6 new zucchinis.