Posted by: Catherine | March 26, 2009

Barley and Arugala Salad with Feta and Fennel Seeds (RR*, The First Unconfidential Cooks’ DInner) )

(*Reader Recipe)
This recipe comes from Anne, who was a guest of a guest of one of my friend’s at The First Unconfidential Cooks’ Dinner. She loves the salad (and so did everyone!), and also its personal history: It is one of the dishes her mother made when she came to help her out after the birth of her first child. Anne says it always brings back feelings of being taken care of. True comfort food. The only change Anne makes is to serve it on top of the arugula instead of tossing everything together because it works better as leftovers—otherwise, the arugula gets very ugly and slimy. Fortunately, there were leftovers–and they were almost better, the dressing having really infused the barley and the other ingredients.
 4 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cups barley

 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

3 garlic cloves, minced           

2 t. fennel seeds

1/4 cup walnut oil

1/4 cup olive oil (or less)

3 cups crumbled feta cheese (My mother uses cotija cheese. It’s good both ways.)

1 1/2 cups walnuts (black walnuts if available)

2 large bunches arugala, torn into pieces

Bring broth to a boil and add barley. Simmer until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain the barley (if necessary), transfer to a bowl.

Make the dressing by combining the balsamic vinegar, garlic, fennel, and oils. Toss barley with dressing. Let cool, then add the cheese and chopped walnuts.

Just before serving, mix in arugula and extra dressing, if desired.



  1. Mmm – I love grain-based salads. So hearty and delicious! Another tasty idea for a similar salad is this recipe for Lentil Bulgur Salad with Apples and Walnuts. Enjoy!

  2. I’m always on the lookout for meatless recipes that are still satisfying. This sounds delicious!

  3. Wow… this is new kind of dish for me, as I usually only drink barley or eat it as sweet porridge. Very interesting…

  4. I love barley and I also love walnut oil, which means I need to try this! It looks healthy and delicious.

  5. This sounds really delicious with feta cheese and walnut oil – yummy flavors!

  6. I have never tried walnut oil.. I can not imagine how delicious walnuts would be with feta though. It looks awesome!! Beautiful dish!

  7. Amazing,
    barley is such a healthy grains, and not too many people be as creative as you are. Most will use barley for soup. I like your idea of making this into salad.

  8. I’ve never had barley in a salad, I bet it’s wonderful with the arugula.

  9. Hey Catherine, this salad looks wonderful. I just love Barley and I bet the fennel and walnut oil adds a wonderful flavor. I’m not a big fan of arugala but perhaps some fresh spinach would be nice! I think it would go nice with the feta too.

  10. This is my first visit to your blog. You have a lot of great recipes. I look forward to returning.

  11. MMMMM…I love a salad as super and healthy as this!! this is great stuff!!! MMMMM…

  12. This salad sounds wonderful. So hearty and healthy. I’ll have to use my leftover barley to make this. Thanks for sharing!

  13. oooh. i love the barley… and the fennel seeds IN the salad. great idea.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: