Trouble With Toast

Barley Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Pine Nuts | March 15, 2010

I’ve been keeping a food and exercise diary for a while now, and as I reviewed my entries the other day, I noticed that there was a direct correlation between my weight fluctuations and my carb intake.  I’m not going to go all Atkins on your asses, have no fear – after all, it is triathlon training season, and I need proper fuel – but I realized that I should be incorporating more complex carbs and healthier grains into my diet in order to satisfy my starchy cravings.

This recipe from Food & Wine magazine came at the perfect time.  It’s a great make-ahead base for really delicious meals – just grill some chicken breast or bake some fish, and voila, you’ve got a balanced lunch that will make your co-workers jealous.  The first step is when you cook the barley and scent it with the thyme and onions (and you could certainly serve it just like that, if you prefer).  Then you add the “dressing” and the mix-ins (for flavor and texture), and the dish really comes together.  The original recipe calls for pomegranate seeds, but I couldn’t find any – and actually, the dried cranberries made a wonderful substitution, as there was plenty of juicy crunch from the apples.  This should keep for about a week in the fridge – if it dries out a bit, just add a little more oil and vinegar to spruce it up.

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups pearled barley
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 3/4 cups water
  • Kosher salt

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the barley and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly toasted; the grains will turn slightly opaque just before browning. Add the onion and thyme and cook over low heat, stirring, until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over very low heat until the water is absorbed and the grains are tender, about 25-30 minutes. Fluff the grains and discard the thyme sprigs. Season the grains with salt.  Allow to cool completely.

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, preferably from Italy (2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 small shallot, minced (2 tablespoons)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups thyme-scented
  • 1 large tart apple, such as Honeycrisp, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the pine nuts in a pie plate and toast until golden, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

In a bowl, whisk the oil with the vinegar and shallot and season with salt and pepper. Add the Thyme-Scented Short-Grain Brown Rice, pine nuts, apple, pomegranate seeds and parsley; toss before serving.


  1. […] affair with Holeman & Finch.  I was eating healthy in March, which brought this awesome barley salad into my repertoire.  I was doing a lot of fundraising in April, for Share Our Strength and the […]

    Pingback by To make an end is to make a beginning « Trouble With Toast — December 30, 2010 @ 2:45 pm

  2. […] and cranberry bean salad.  It is a REALLY hearty side dish – in fact, much like my go-to barley salad, this dish could easily be served as a main […]

    Pingback by Recipe: Warm Farro and Cranberry Bean Salad « Trouble With Toast — March 15, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

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