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Barley, Pomegranate, Date, Feta and Pistachio Salad

With its medley of flavours inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine, this salad is a nice balance for chicken or lamb dishes, or as a vegetarian meal on its own.

¾ cup (175 mL) pot or pearl barley
½ cup (125 mL) orange juice
2 cups (250 mL) water
½ cup (125 mL) slivered dates, cut into small strips
½ cup (125 mL) pomegranate seeds
¼ cup (60 mL) thinly sliced red onion
¼ cup (60 mL) shelled, roasted, unsalted pistachios
¼ cup (60 mL) crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup (60 mL) loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro

½ cup (125 mL) orange juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
1 tsp (5 mL) fresh grated ginger root
½ tsp (2 mL) dried thyme
pinch ground cinnamon
pinch cayenne pepper

In a medium saucepan, combine barley, juice and water. Over medium-low heat, simmer until barley is tender and all liquid is absorbed, approximately 40 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff barley and cool slightly.

In a salad bowl, toss together dates, pomegranate seeds, onion, pistachios, feta cheese and cilantro. Stir in cooled barley.

In a measuring cup or small, deep bowl, whisk together juice, oil, ginger root, thyme, cinnamon and cayenne. Pour over salad and stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours before serving.

Makes 8 servings (1/2 cup/125 mL each).

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories: 166
Protein: 4 g
Carbohydrate: 30 g
Fibre: 5 g
Sugars: 12 g
Fat: 4 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 2 mg
Sodium: 38 mg
Potassium: 252 mg