Barley and Asparagus Salad

I am spoiled. So spoiled. I pay a high price to live where I do, but with the ocean a few minutes away, a city full of amazing food, and fresh local produce pretty much year-round, I feel pretty lucky to call California home. At least, until a big earthquake hits.

If you ever find yourself in Berkeley like I did the other day, please do yourself a favor and visit Berkeley Bowl. The produce section is indescribably amazing. Not only do they have about 20 different kinds of apples and 10 kinds of potatoes, they have signs telling you where each and every item was grown. Except for the shallots and a red onion (which I got at Trader Joe’s a while ago), all the produce in this salad is from California. There were huge piles of local asparagus, ripe avocados, and beautiful oranges. Mike’s only request for dinner was lots of vegetables, so I decided a salad — with barley to make it more filling — would be perfect.

Since I’m not working this week, it was the perfect opportunity to go meet Mike for lunch in the city.

We went to the Ferry Building, which has a huge variety of lunch options. We ended up at Delica.

I got 3 salads: wasabi potato salad (awesome), burdock salad (also tasty), and the hijiki and soybean salad (which is really similar to something I’ve made before).

My only complaint is that the serving sizes were TINY, but that was okay because it meant I had room for dessert!

Cookies and cream gelato… I need more of you in my life.

I love this weather and this view!


1 tbsp finely chopped shallot
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp orange zest
pinch sugar, salt, and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup pot barley (slightly less processed than pearl barley, which you can sub if that’s what you have)
2 cups water
3 ounces mixed salad greens
12 spears asparagus, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

Bring the water to a boil and add the barley. Turn down to low and simmer, covered, about 45 minutes or until barley is tender. Let cool.

Blanch the asparagus: Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook for 30 seconds, then drain and submerge into cold water to stop the pieces from cooking. Drain well and set aside.

Put the greens and barley in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss, then add the asparagus, avocado, walnuts, and onion. Mix to combine, then serve.

4 Responses to “Barley and Asparagus Salad”

  1. 1 Kate April 10, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I never thought of tossing barley on a salad. Making a salad from barley? Sure, but this is a great way to add some grains in.

  2. 2 Brianna April 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Mmm I can’t wait to try that place at the Ferry Building. Sounds so good. As does the salad. I have some barley to use up too.

  3. 3 Avrienne April 10, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    I love the Berkeley Bowl! My BIL is wrapping up his PhD out there and we visited a few summers ago, and he took us there…I walked out with nine different kinds of fruit I’d never seen on the shelves here at home in MI. And I could have easily gotten more. I didn’t even get over to the mushrooms!

  4. 4 Beth April 11, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Berkeley Bowl may be my favorite part of living in the East Bay. Whenever we have visitors, and they all want to see the Golden Gate Bridge, I’m always the crazy person saying “no, first you have to see my grocery store, it’s WAY better than the Golden Gate” 🙂

    I just found your blog (through a link from Ashley), and I’m so glad I did! Best of luck in Boston; it’s my home marathon so I’m biased, but it’s obviously the best race in the whole world. Just enjoy yourself and every minute of the course!

    Good luck, good luck!

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