These days I try to avoid most grains. My personal preference is to keep my diet low in carbohydrates. Nutritionally I don’t feel my body requires them, and I feel better without them. Of course I still enjoy carbs, but when I do, on occasion, I try to balance the meal with protein and vegetables.
This meal is based off a recipe featured in the latest Bon Appetit issue. The dressing is exact but I switched the salad up a bit to fit my style. I was surprised at how well everything came together. The dressing contains fennel seed, coriander seed, and cumin seed. It’s strong in seasoning but not overpowering like you might think. Along with a few other tweaks I added in chicken sausage, using Dogfish Head Greek feta brats – chicken brat with feta cheese, mint, spinach, cumin, lemon and Midas Touch. I’ve had these before and they are delicious. The perfect substitute when I’m not at Whole Foods to buy raw sausage.
Everything in this dish came together really well. It’s not heavy despite the barley and sausage. I’m always trying to increase the veggie count in my dishes so I served this over a bed of broccoli sprouts and chopped pea shoots. This adds to the lightness. Just to note, I have found a really cheap source for organic pea shoots which is why they are currently in most of my meals. Plus I love their flavor. But you can leave them out or substitute a different sprout or leafy green.
Snap Pea & Barley Salad
- 3/4 cup barley
- 8 oz snap peas, chopped into 1″ pieces
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 12 oz Dogfish Head Greek Feta Brat (or any other sausage/brat you prefer)
- 1 medium cucumber, sliced into thin half moons
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 oz feta, to serve
- grape tomatoes, halved to serve
- sprouts or greens, to serve
- Cook barley according to package. I rinsed mine, placed in a pot with 3 cups of water, brought to a boil, partially covered, and simmered over low until tender, about 40 minutes. Barley makes the water foam up so be aware to prevent overspilling. Once barley is cooked rinse well and place on a plate to dry.
- Heat up the olive oil over medium high heat in a sauté pan. Add the snap peas and cook 5 minutes to barely soften and just brown. Place in a bowl.
- Slice sausage into 1″ rounds and then into half moons. Add to sauté pan and brown. If you are using raw sausage cook whole and then slice. Add to snap peas.
- Stir in the barley, cucumber, dill, lemon juice, and dressing. Season with s&p.
- Serve over a bed of sprouts and/or greens topped with feta cheese and grape tomatoes.
Toasted Spice Vinaigrette (from Bon Appétit)
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon styled mustard
- In a dry skillet toast the coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds over medium heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Cool and chop.
- Whisk all ingredients, including chopped seeds. Season with s&p.