Some of you may recall seeing this barley salad on my Instagram feed over the summer, when I was in my Middle Eastern cooking phase after returning from Israel. The recipe is modestly adapted from The Complete Make-Ahead Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen, and I’ve been waiting until pomegranates were in season to share it with you. Inspired by the flavors of Egypt, the salad contains crunchy pistachios, tangy pomegranate molasses, and cilantro, all balanced by warm, earthy spices and sweet golden raisins. Chunks of feta, scallions, and pomegranate seeds adorn the top of the dish, making a gorgeous composed salad with lively flavors and textures. It’s wonderful!
Begin by cooking the barley. In order for the grains to remain distinct, rather than cohesive as in a pilaf, America’s Test Kitchen uses the “pasta method” to boil the barley.
Drain the barley, then spread it on a rimmed baking sheet to cool.
Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, cumin, and salt. (Note that pomegranate molasses is sold at some large grocers, Whole Foods, or Middle Eastern markets. You can also buy it online.)
Toss with the cooled barley, cilantro, raisins, and pistachios.
Spread the barley salad evenly onto a serving platter and arrange feta, scallions, and pomegranate seeds in diagonal rows on top. Drizzle with extra olive oil and serve.
(Note: I made a few minor changes to the recipe. To see the original, click here.)
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Egyptian Barley Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette
- 1-1/2 cups pearl barley (do not substitute hulled barley or hull-less barley)
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 2-1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (see note)
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (parsley may be substituted)
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup unsalted shelled pistachios or walnuts, chopped coarse
- 4 oz feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced (you'll need 4 to 6 scallions)
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- Bring 4 quarts water to boil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add barley and 1 tablespoon salt, return to boil, and cook until tender, about 45 minutes, or according to package instructions. Drain barley, spread onto rimmed baking sheet, and let cool completely, about 15 minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Add the barley, cilantro, raisins, and pistachios (or walnuts) and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread barley salad evenly on serving platter and arrange feta, scallions, and pomegranate seeds in separate diagonal rows on top. Drizzle with extra oil and serve.
- Make Ahead: The cooked barley and vinaigrette can be refrigerated separately for up to 3 days. To serve, bring barley and vinaigrette to room temperature, whisk vinaigrette to recombine, and continue with step 3, seasoning to taste as necessary. Dressed salad can be held up to 2 hours at room temperature before serving.
- Note: Pomegranate molasses is sold at some large grocers, Whole Foods or Middle Eastern markets. You can also buy it online.
- Per serving (8 servings)
- Calories: 326
- Fat: 14 g
- Saturated fat: 4 g
- Carbohydrates: 44 g
- Sugar: 15 g
- Fiber: 8 g
- Protein: 9 g
- Sodium: 212 mg
- Cholesterol: 13 mg
This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.