Barley Side (Salad)

20151103_110654I have realized that at the ripe old age of 28 I have absolutely no clue what a salad is. I don’t think I’m alone in this, either. You would think maybe that a salad is a dish with a base of leafy greens; but then there are the concepts of a fruit salad or a pasta salad or an egg salad. So, that can’t be right. You may think that it is a side-dish, a mere accompaniment to an entree; but we all know that many people order salads as entrees. It’s a no, then, to that idea (not to mention that if it were a side-dish, then you’d still have to find a way to distinguish “salads” from, say, “veggie sides” and things of that nature). You may be really naive and guess that salads are always cold. Au contraire. Even if an obvious counterexample like salad lyonnaise doesn’t immediately spring to your mind, just do a search for “warm salads”. I got over 39 MILLION hits. Basically if you place some cooked protein, or roasted vegetables, or even just rice on a plate then you can find a way to manipulate it and call it a salad. My mother even struggled with this. She started by saying a salad was a non-liquid dish with at least three ingredients. I said, “So…a cake is a salad.” She attempted to fix her definition by adding sauce/dressing as a requirement. I then said, “So…a pizza is a salad.” Try it–you’ll probably fail.

Basically, then, I’m not sure if the recipe below is a side-dish, or a main-dish, or a salad, or what. I’m fairly confident it’s NOT a dessert or an hors d’oeuvre. I am also confident that this dish is simple to make, is very filling, is vegetarian/vegan friendly, and screams fall/autumn in all the right ways. If that’s the description, then, who cares what it actually is?



  • One cup (pearl) barley
  • Roma/cherry tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Kalamata olives, pitted
  • Goat cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar


  • Preheat the oven to 450*F. Chop the tomatoes and eggplant, place them on a lined baking tray. Season liberally with salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Roast for 30-40 minutes.
  • Cook the barley. Just like rice. 2.5-3 cups water for 1 cup barley. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20-35 minutes (depending upon your range).

    In Tupperware, as this was my original plan for
    In Tupperware, as this was my original plan for “lunches for the week”
  • When the barley is cooked, add the roasted vegetables, the olives, and goat cheese. Serve.

    Glamorous side-shot.
    Glamorous side-shot.

One thought on “Barley Side (Salad)

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