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 Salad1 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
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.