Although most of us want to eat more whole grains, not all of them so called are indeed whole. Take barley, for example. You might know the grain from beef barley soup or a stuffing for baked bell peppers. Unfortunately, you might not know that most of what we can find in our supermarkets is "pearled" or "semi-pearled" barley--meaning that much of the whole grain goodness in the bran and germ have been partly or even wholly removed. Just to be clear, white rice is "pearled" rice.
But there is barley on the market that is truly a whole grain. It's a hull-less variety, bred so that it can be harvested and kept as a whole grain. It makes a chewy, nutty grain salad--like this one. If you want to find our more about hull-less barley, click here. Otherwise, let's make a salad!
Start with 1 cup (110 grams) hull-less barley. Soak it in a big bowl over water for at least 8 hours or overnight, up to 12 hours. Drain in a colander set in the sink and scrape the grains in a big saucepan. Fill the pan about two-thirds with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and cook, uncovered, until the hull-less barley is tender, between 50 minutes and 1 hour 10 minutes, depending on how much residual moisture is in the grains. You'll only know by a taste-test, so start checking at about the 45-minute mark to see where you are.
Meanwhile, put all this in a large bowl:
- 1 2/3 cups (425 grams) canned black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup (80 grams) chopped pitted dates
- 1/2 cup (80 grams) chopped toasted almonds
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons mild paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon mild smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Once the hull-less barley is tender, drain it in a colander set in the sink, then rinse with cool water to get it to room temperature. Shake the colander to remove as much of the water as you can, then pour then hull-less barley into the bowl and stir it all up. The salad's ready to go--and so very delicious. Plus, you know it's stocked with whole grains.