This deliciously healthy salad is anything but boring!
This Barley Salad with Asparagus and Roasted Tomatoes is not only super healthy, but it’s also full of explosive flavors that won’t weigh you down. I love a rich and heavy meal as much as the next person, but sometimes I crave something lighter. That’s especially true when summer strikes and it’s so hot outside. It’s easier to eat (and digest) a light dish than those heavy, wintery comfort foods. But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want a flavorful meal! Our Barley Salad with Asparagus and Roasted Tomatoes achieves the best of both worlds: healthy, light ingredients that come together to create a powerful punch of flavors.
You’ll also get an important expression of the Mediterranean diet with this salad. Almost everything is plant-based and natural! It’s also one of those recipes that’s easy to pull together in a matter of 30 minutes. That makes it perfect when you need something quick for a weeknight dinner or a simple lunch.
It might come together quickly, but it certainly doesn’t taste like a quick-and-easy recipe. There is so much going on, we don’t know what we love the most. It’s hard to choose from the super-green-tasting asparagus, salty olives, herbaceous basil, savory pesto, or the deeply-flavored roasted tomatoes. Maybe it’s just the way it all comes together!
A Quick Note About Roasted Tomatoes
This Barley Salad with Asparagus and Roasted Tomatoes is quick and easy to make, but you do need to have some roasted tomatoes on hand. You can buy roasted tomatoes, but we’d certainly recommend making this slow roasted tomatoes recipe. It takes about three hours to roast them, but trust us: it’s so worth it! They get this deep, rich, caramelized flavor that’s hard to beat. The store-bought kind lacks that depth of flavor and it usually has a ton of extra sodium, too.
Since it takes so long to make them, we’d recommend making a large batch of the slow roasted tomatoes. They keep in the refrigerator for four days, but you can also freeze them and they’ll thaw out perfectly. Having slow roasted tomatoes on-hand makes it easy to add a ton of flavor to salads like this (and, they’re also great to mix with pasta dishes or for making appetizers like bruschetta).
With the diversity of aromas and herbs presented in this dish, we would certainly recommend pairing it with a white wine. Look for something with a long and persistent finish, like a fresh Riesling with a notable acidity. Some Rieslings can be very sweet, so look for one that comes from the Alsace region of France if you prefer a dry wine that’s also full-bodied.
Barley Salad with Asparagus and Roasted Tomatoes
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 5 cups water
- 5 ounces asparagus
- 1/2 cup pesto ready made or make your own with our pesto recipe
- 1/8 cup green olives halved
- 1/2 cup fire-roasted tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 to 8 basil leaves fresh
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Over high heat, bring the water to a boil along with the barley in a pot. When it boils, put the flame down to medium and let the barley cook for about 20 minutes.
- While cooking the barley, grill the asparagus spears on an oven top griddle for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. When cooked, chop coarsely then set aside.
- When the barley is cooked, drain then rinse with cold water to stop the cooking and to cool it down.
- In a large bowl, mix the drained barley with all the remaining ingredients.
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