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Summer Barley Salad

One summer I decided to create a recipe with the herbs in my garden and the seasonal produce in the stores. I wanted it to be a substantial salad so I used pearled barley as my base.

Mexican Mint marigold is an herb that tastes like tarragon and flowers into little golden marigolds in the fall. Basil with good, sweet balsamic vinegar would be a great alternative for the tarragon flavor.

  • ServingsServings


  • 2 cups of water or low salt vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup pearled barley
  • ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 1 medium crook neck squash
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 scallions


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-2 Tablespoons tarragon vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh tarragon, Mexican Mint Marigold or Basil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • Finely grated zest of ¼ lemon
  • Pinch of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Watercress or arugula for garnish


  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and stir in the barley.  Simmer, partially covered for 25 minutes or until tender.  Drain and set aside in a medium bowl. Toss barley with the ½ tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Peel seed and cut cucumbers into 1/4 inch dice.
  3. Cut the squash and the zucchini into 1/4 inch dice and blanch for 2 minutes in boiling salted water.  Drain and run under cold water.  Drain again.
  4. Trim 1 inch off the green ends of the scallions and then cut scallions into ¼ inch lengths.
  5. Mix the mayonnaise in a small bowl to make a smooth sauce.  Add the remaining ingredients for the dressing to the mayonnaise and stir to combine.
  6. Mix the barley, squash, zucchini and scallions in a bowl with the dressing. 7. Pour mixture into a clean serving bowl and garnish with some watercress or arugula leaves, if you want, and serve.
  7. erve at room temperature or chill for later use.

Tina’s Tidbits:

  • Tossing barley with a small amount of oil will prevent the grain from absorbing all the moisture from the dressing
  • For a more robust color, add diced red bell peppers or small, halved, cherry tomatoes to the barley mixture before adding the dressing
  • Blanching vegetables for a short period of time brings out the natural sweetness and color as well as slightly softening the food

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