On a recent visit to the Elora Brewing Company, one dish on their menu caught my eye; warm barley salad. Sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, potato and roasted cashews tossed with barley in an aioli vinaigrette.
I have read about the health benefits of barley, but can’t recall ever eating it besides in beef barley soup.
Since, then I’ve made this dish a number of times at home. It can be served as a side or on it’s own as a nice comfort meal.
Below is my recipe to make this salad a meal for one person. Adjust ingredients according to the number of servings you wish to make. For context, doubling the recipe would make a nice side for four people.
Warm Barley Salad With Tomatoes & Roasted Cashews
Sweet potato and white potatoes, cut into cubes – 1/2 C each (approx 1/2 medium potato and 1/3 sweet potato)
Cashews – 1/3 C
Cherry tomatoes – 5-6
Pearl barley – 1/2 C
Garlic – 1 or 2 cloves
Lemon juice – 2 Tbsp
Extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Measure your barley and cook according to the directions on the package. 1/2 Cup of dry barley will make a pretty large serving for one person, even for a meal, so you might consider reducing this amount. If it’s the first time you’re cooking barley, be sure you add enough water. Barley takes 30-45 minutes to cook down and it will absorb all this water.
3. While the barley is cooking, wash and cube your potatoes & sweet potatoes. Toss with some olive oil and salt and spread on a baking sheet to roast. Slice cherry tomatoes in half and set aside.
4. Separately toss the cashews with some olive oil and spread them out on a pan. Put both the potatoes and cashews in the oven and roast until golden (about 25 minutes).
5. Now begin preparing your aioli. Elora Brewing Company uses an aioli made with egg for their salad, and I’ve prepared it with and without egg. If you’ve never made aioli, see below for some further notes on it and a couple recipes. Don’t whisk everything together for your aioli until your barley and vegetables are cooked and ready to assemble together.
6. Once the barley is cooked and vegetable and cashews roasted, whisk aioli, then toss all ingredients together.
Serve warm and enjoy!
A note about aioli:
I learned a lot about aioli while recreating this recipe. You can imagine my surprise when I learned this salad is tossed in aioli, because I always thought aioli was a chipotle mayonnaise dip for sweet potato fries. Turns out it’s not. Traditionally, aioli is a garlic and olive oil sauce, which may or may not contain egg.
I have tried making it a couple ways now and haven’t quite perfected it. I think I need a proper mortar and pestle and perhaps a food processor, although my blender has done a decent job. It’s very garlicky so cut back (a lot) if you don’t like garlic. I tried this recipe with egg and this recipe without. Because I was always told as a kid not to eat raw eggs, the former freaks me out a little so I prefer the latter. Adjust your volume accordingly. For the above recipe you only need about 1/3 – 1/2 cup of aioli.