Come to think of it, I don't even know if this recipe is a rip-off of a Lebanese salad. Maybe it's an Israeli salad--? While I sort out my accidental cultural insensitivity (and I will later apologize like Paula Deen), please enjoy this variation on yet another something you can eat cold for lunch or dinner.
Serves 3-4 as a light meal
1 cup pearled barley, rinsed and sorted
1 cup fresh parsley
½ cup fresh mint
1 garlic clove, peeled
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup diced cucumber
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
2 scallions, sliced
4 Romain leaves, rinsed, dried, and chiffonaded
2 tablespoons slivered almonds (optional)
Cook the barley in well-salted water about 20 minutes or until al dente. (Or, skip the salt, use about 2 quarts water, and keep the spent liquid to drink later.) Drain in a colander and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, make the pesto: place parsley, mint, garlic, lemon juice and zest, red pepper flakes, and salt to taste in a food processor. Blend until it forms a chunky pesto and stir into the barley. When the barley is room temperature, add all the vegetables and stir to combine. Sprinkle the almonds on top if using.