This parsley and barley salad with tomatoes is my tribute to tabbouleh. Made with hulled barley, it’s also a delicious way to get more whole grains into our diet.
I’ve learned that traditional tabbouleh or tabouli is made with a tiny bit of bulgur (cracked and parboiled wheat) and a whole lot of parsley. Apparently, in traditional tabbouleh, the parsley far outweighs the bulgur. Given this large amount of parsley and a touch of mint, it’s no wonder this salad is often used as a palate cleanser. That would also explain why traditional tabbouleh doesn’t include garlic or onions.
This recipe does not conform to all of these traditional elements, but it does have a refreshing light taste with a key emphasis on parsley. It also uses barley instead of bulgur, hence the name parsley and barley salad.
I chose hulled barley because I wanted a whole grain and because I love the slightly chewy texture of barley. It’s soft on the outside and just firm enough on the inside to make it interesting to eat. Look how it puffs up and seemingly wants to pop right out of its outer layer.
Being a whole grain, hulled barley delivers fibre (soluble and insoluble), vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals that have been shown to help decrease the risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. That’s the kind of thing I want to eat more of! For more detailed nutrition information on barley read Registered Dietitian Lesley Beck’s info on barley. Of course the Barley Council of Canada also offers information on the nutritional benefits of barley.
Can I use Pot or Pearl Barley Instead?
Yes, you can use pot or pearl barley in this recipe. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time as indicated on the package. Because pot and pearl barely are polished with most of the bran in pot barley and all of the bran in pearl barley removed, the cooking time will be shorter.
Nutritionally, Leslie Beck says “hulled barley is rich in dietary fibre and contains more iron, thiamin and trace minerals than pearled barley.”
If you can, it’s a good idea to use the whole grain version whenever possible to get the maximum nutritional benefit. However, parsley and barley salad – whether you use pot, pearl or hulled barley is still a pretty awesome choice!
- 1/2 cup raw hulled barley (1 1/2 cups cooked)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 bunch chopped parsley (2-3 cups chopped)
- 2 medium tomatoes chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped (2 tsp dried)
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp ground pepper
- In large pot with tight fitting lid, add barley and cover with water. Bring to boil and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 55 to 60 minutes. Rinse with cold water, drain and cool.
- In large bowl, toss together barley, parsley, tomatoes, green onions and mint.
- In small jar with tight fitting lid, combine canola oil, lemon juice, salt and ground pepper. Secure lid and shake swell to blend thoroughly.
- Pour dressing over salad and mix well.
- Rest for one hour before serving to allow flavors to blend and parsley to soften somewhat.
- This salad is great the next day, perfect for prepping ahead or making extras to last throughout the week.
- Makes 4 cups
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