Spinach and Barley Salad

Spinach has pretty much always been a staple in my refrigerator, but ever since I started blending it into my morning smoothie, I’ve been going through about 5 large bunches a week. I am usually so careful about making sure I have some left for breakfast that I kind of stopped cooking dinner with it.

But then on a run I started thinking about spinach, and barley, and red onions, and cilantro (which we now have growing in pots in our kitchen), and I immediately came home and put together this salad. It’s full of good stuff – healthy fats from avocado and walnuts, and a nice summery flavor from the lemon cilantro dressing. This makes a LOT, and the leftovers are great for lunch. I might have to start picking up a few extra bunches of spinach at the farmers market every week, because I think salads like this one are going to be in heavy rotation all summer!

4 cups water
1 1/2 cups pearled barley

1 medium zucchini, diced
4 cups (or more) spinach leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 avocado, cubed
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper

Bring the water to a boil and add the barley. Simmer until tender, 30-40 minutes, then drain the excess water. Let cool.

Combine the diced zucchini, spinach, walnuts, avocado, red onion, and green onion in a large bowl. Add the barley and mix well.

To make the dressing, mash the garlic and salt with a mortar and pestle to make a smooth paste. Transfer to a blender and add the lemon juice, cilantro, olive oil, and a pinch or two of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth, then add as much as desired to the salad, tossing to mix.


5 Responses to “Spinach and Barley Salad”

  1. 1 Kate July 2, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    I don’t do green monsters, but I do use spinach in a ton of dishes since it’s my favorite veggie. We only go through about 1 large bunch a week. We’re so inferior ;-p

  2. 2 Heidi's Full Plate July 2, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Love spinach and have been on a barley kick lately. Mostly use it in soups so can’t wait to try this salad.

  3. 3 Natalie (The Sweets Life) July 6, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I am all about grains & salads–LOVE the sound of this combo and can’t wait to try!!

  4. 4 Shana June 19, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    I made this for a small get together and it was big success. I cut out the walnuts, added some chopped dried apricot to get a little sweet in there, and I used parsley instead of cilantro because I knew someone at the party didn’t like cilantro. It was really great and very filling. The barley takes it from salad to meal.

  5. 5 kaia lise August 7, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    i just made almost exactly the same salad! it was so good that i googled “spinach and barley salad” to see if someone had made it an official recipe before – and voila, your gorgeous page, with picture matching what i am eating – avocado and walnuts too! only i had added ranch and cranberries and a bit of cucumber. fiancee just tried it and said “boy that is GOOD!”

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