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Barley and Endive Salad with Parsley Pesto

Barley and Endive Salad with Parsley Pesto

My father-in-law is vegan, and he eats a decent amount of tofu. In fact, I never really enjoyed tofu until he made me his signature dish.

He mixes together a mean stir-fry of tofu, broccoli, onions, chili oil, and he uses garlic so judiciously that I don’t even know it’s there.

How awesome is that?

And I like to make him little meals to give him the night off from cooking occasionally.

This meal came about when I was craving barley for lunch and I decided to make a huge barley salad with enough leftover to send out to him.

Barley may seem like a slightly odd thing to crave, but it’s been more and more on my mind – and on my plate. It’s ridiculously good for you, and it’s filling.

Oh, and it’s inexpensive.

Also because it’s December, endive seemed like an appropriate addition. Add some cherry tomatoes for color, a whole lot of herbs – and hello, pretty and healthy salad!

My father-in-law is fairly low-key kind of guy, so when my husband came home from the salad delivery and said that his father “loved it,” well, I felt like I’d won a Nobel prize.

“So, your Dad liked it?”

“No Launie, he loved it.”

“Holy macaroni.”

Barley and Endive Salad with Parsley Pesto

Makes approximately 4 cups.

1 cup pearl barley
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cups vegetable stock (Or if you’re a meat eater, chicken stock is delicious too.)
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup almonds, roughly chopped
1 scallion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried)
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 small red onion, diced
Cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 endive, sliced

Saute the barley with the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the broth and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer over low heat for 25 minutes. Check the barley, and simmer longer if it’s not done. It may take up to 35-40 minutes until it’s totally cooked through.

If there’s any liquid remaining once the barley is cooked through, drain it.

Let the barley cool.

While the barley is cooling, make the pesto.

Place the parsley, olive oil, almonds, scallion, dill, remaining salt and black pepper, in a food processor fitted with a metal blade.

Process until smooth.

In a large bowl combine the barley, pesto, tomatoes, onion and endive. Stir well to combine.

Serve cool, or at room temperature.

(Photo by Launie K.)

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