Barley Salad with Roasted Tomatoes

If you need something to take to a picnic or BBQ this summer, try this. Barley salad can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature, making this a great option for travel.

Barley has existed for centuries, dating back to ancient Egypt when it was used to make bread and beer. Today, barley is available in most grocery stores, so it's easier than ever to enjoy this healthy, light salad.

I first came across a similar recipe in Martha Stewart Living under the guise of Roated-Tomato Tabbouleh. It called for bulgur wheat, which I couldn’t find (FYI – bulgur is in the baking aisle, not the grain aisle), so I substituted barley and found it to work just as well. After adding water, the barley takes care of itself on the stove for about 45 minutes.

While the barley cooks, you can prepare the other ingredients and roast the tomatoes. Many similar salads call for halved cherry tomatoes (which I also love!), but taking time to roast them brings out their sweetness and adds a depth of flavor that you wouldn’t experience by simply tossing in raw, diced tomatoes.

Barley Salad with Roasted Tomatoes

2 cups barley

1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

10 large mint leaves, chopped

6 plum or Roma tomatoes, halved

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar

1-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 scallions, thinly sliced

Juice of 1 lemon

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cook barley according to package directions and set aside in a large glass bowl.

Combine chopped herbs in a bowl, reserving 2 tbsp. basil and parsley. Toss tomatoes with garlic, vinegar, 1 teaspoon oil reserved parsley and basil mixture, and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until tomatoes begin to soften, about 15 minutes. Let cool, and chop into smaller pieces.

Add roasted-tomatoes, remaining herbs, scallions, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and oil to barley ad gently toss. Salad can be served warm, chilled or at room temperature.