Friday 28 January 2011

Aussie morroccan salad

I have been finding inspiration in Joanne's reflections in the Eat Live Be series. Lots of healthy ideas and recipes. So, in the spirit of healthy eating, when my friend Will was coming over to lunch on Saturday, I decided to make Joanne's Morroccan Chickpea Barley Salad. As I started cooking the barley I had vague recollections of Will talking about pearl barley. I feared that he might hate it but it was too late to back out.

While I have had barley in stews and soups before, I have never used it in salad. Would it taste different in a salad? It turned out that Will loves barley. And chickpeas. He was delighted with the salad. I gave some of the cooked barley to Sylvia and she loved it. What is it about kids and carbs!

I bought the barley at the Vic Market. Back home I found that I didn't have as much as the recipe required. I didn't mind as I don't like salads that are dominated by grains. I was also pleased that it had dried apricots and pistachios. I love dried apricots and so does Sylvia. I haven't had pistachios for ages and ages. The salad was a welcome excuse to have them in the house. I had forgotten just how pretty they are.

Sylvia had her swimming lesson before lunch so I simmered the barley before we left and bought Half Moon falafels on the way home. In the mall while we waited for falafels to cook we watched the old busker with the didgeridoo. Sylvia refused to give him the coin I gave her to drop on his pile. I chopped some vegetables. I dug out some wraps that fell apart. I brought the yoghurt and beetroot dip out of the fridge. It was a great lunch. Will was impressed.

I used some of my Australian spice mix instead of the Moroccan spice mix. I am not sure I got the spices quite right. I found it a little lemony for my liking. There were so many wonderful flavours and textures from the other ingredients that I didn't mind. If I was a different sort of blogger I might try lots of different dressing variations. But I don't. I am posting how I made it anyway.

We had leftovers the following day when we were headed over to see Chris, Yav and Florence for lunch. I had said I would take along some salad. So I took the leftovers. I also chopped up lots of veg and made an orange dressing. The barley salad had dried up a little overnight so I poured a smidge of orange dressing on the salad. It worked well. Maybe I would prefer orange juice rather than lemon on the barley salad. Maybe I shall experiment further some time.

As an aside, the salads went well with the pizza that Yav baked. The pizza was a big hit. Even Sylvia loved it. I have been inspired to make pizza last night. Sylvia loved it too. Might need to be a more regular meal.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Novelty Cakes from the Archives II
This time three years ago: WBB: Tofu Scramble and Imposters

'Moroccan' Chickpea Barley Salad

Serves 4 as a main, 6-8 as a side, adapted from Simply Recipes via Eats Well with Others

1 cup barley boil 30-60 min with salt
1 tsp salt
1 (400g or 15 oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, diced (I used half red, half green)
1/4 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1 cup dried apricots, diced
2 scallions, chopped
1 cup chopped parsley (I used a whole bunch)
zest and juice of a lemon (I forgot zest)
2 tsp red Australian bush spice mix
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt to taste

Boil barley in salted water (using about 1 tsp of salt) for 30-60 minutes - I did it for about 50 minutes - until cooked. Drain and lightly rinse. Cool ( as I did or you can serve the salad with warm barley). Add remaining ingredients and mix. Best eaten on the day of preparation but can be eaten the next day - may need a little extra juice or dressing.

On the stereo:
Yellow Bird: Arthur Lyman


  1. Yum. I am totally hooked on barely, strange thing to be hooked on I know but there you go! Its great in risotto instead of the rice too.

  2. I have been thinking of this barley salad ever since Joanne posted it. Yum!

  3. Yay! I'm so excited that you made and liked the salad! It looks fantastic and I love that spice blend that you used. Delicious.

  4. Oh yeah, that's my kinda lunch!

  5. Oh, I adore pistachios and chickpeas! My mum gave me a spice mix for Christmas that I might try here, and while I don't have pearl barley, I might be naughty and try it with quinoa rather than trying to make space in my tiny pantry for another bag of grains :P

  6. I love the way barley resists just a little when you bite into - I think it's great in salads! This looks great and lots like barley salads I've made here recently. I've never tried using it for risotto though and I keep seeing recipes around - something barleyish to try in Winter.

  7. This sounds very good indeed.

  8. Thanks Chele - must try a barley risotto

    Thanks Sarah - give it a try - it is great

    Thanks Food hunter - yes it is lovely with all the colours and textures and tastes

    Thanks Joanne - I think the spice blend I used didn't shine as much as I think your morroccan one might have - must try that - but great salad

    Thanks Cindy - would love to have shared it with you - I know it would have been appreciated

    Thanks Hannah - love to hear how you go with the quinoa - I actually only bought enough barley for the salad (at the vic market organic stalls where we met last year) and it enthused me so much about barley I wished I had bought more

    Thanks Lexi - I was surprised at the toothsomeness because it has been so soft in stews and soups but it was very pleasing

    Thanks Cakelaw

  9. I bookmarked this recipe already from Eats Well with Others, and I'm so glad to hear it's a good one. Looks so nourishing. I love salads that work well as leftovers. It would probably also be really good with meyer lemon instead of regular lemon / orange. That would be a little milder/sweeter/less lemony. I'll see if I can get hold of some before trying this recipe.

  10. I love both barley and pistachios, but sadly can't eat either one right now. So I'll have to enjoy them vicariously through your post (at least I could eat the chickpeas). :)

  11. Yumm I had already saved this recipe from Joanne's site to be made soon but had forgotten about it - thanks for the reminder! I love barley in salads, or anything really. It's so nice and chewy.


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