There are innumerable variations of this dish, all using pretty much the same ingredients. I like to use equal amounts of each vegetable as a starting point. The freshness and quality of ingredients will dictate the success of the dish. When it comes to barley there are two types, pearled and hulled. Hulled barley is also known as barley groats and just has the outside hull removed. Pearled has both the outer layer and bran removed, and is the more common variety. Hulled, by being a more complete grain takes more time to cook.
Feel free to substitute another grain for barley, or use mixed grains.
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 cup pearled barley
- 3 cups water or vegetable stock
- Kosher salt
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
- 1 med zucchini, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 small eggplant, peeled and diced
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- Olive oil as needed
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- ¾ -1 cup prepared basil pesto
Combine barley and liquid in a 2-quart saucepan.
Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover pan and simmer over low heat until barley is chewy but still slightly firm, about 20 minutes. If not proper texture, check every 5 minutes until done.
While barley is cooking, heat enough olive oil just to cover the bottom of a 10 to 12-inch saute pan and cook the tomato, zucchini, red pepper, yellow pepper, eggplant and red onion in individual batches (this prevents some vegetables from being either overcooked or undercooked). Cool completely.
In a large bowl, combine barley, diced vegetables and pesto, toss together. Season to taste with salt and cracked black pepper.