Whole Grains Month – Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad

Photo courtesy Oldways Whole Grains Council

Yes, it’s that time of the year again- Whole Grains Month – a time to celebrate these nutrition-packed nuggets of goodness. When it comes to whole grains, are you adventurous or do you stick to tried and true favourites? While simply having whole grains over refined ones certainly ups your nutrition game, as each grain is different than another, eating an assortment of diverse grains offers a variety of health perks.

Check out the Whole Grains 101 section on the Oldways Whole Grains Council website to get tips and recipes for cooking new offerings.

How about barley?

Are you a fan of barley in a variety of dishes or do you usually just save it for the soup pot? If so, considering barley’s stellar nutritional ratings, it’s time to expand your barley repertoire. It’s a top-notch source of fibre, a nutrient which is, all too often, in short supply.

This grains supplies a bounty of benefits including potent blood cholesterol lowering power, aids in blood sugar regulation, antioxidant action and prebiotic effects. But even without these health perks, barley simply tastes great.

Here’s a recipe adapted from the Oldways Whole Grains Council for you to enjoy.

Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad

1 large eggplant, cut into cubes
2 medium zucchini, cut into cubes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp cayenne
1 cups barley
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock, or water
½ cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp za’atar (optional)
½ pound cherry tomatoes, quartered
⅓ cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and halved
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ cup chopped fresh mint

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Toss the eggplant and zucchini with 1 tbsp of the oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Spread in a large shallow (1-inch-deep) lightly greased baking pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes total. Cool.

While the vegetables are roasting, heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil in a heavy, 3- to 4-quart pot over moderately high heat. Add the scallions, cumin, coriander, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the barley and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes, or until almost all of the liquid is absorbed and the barley is tender. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes to allow the barley to absorb any additional liquid.

Whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, and za’atar in a large bowl. Add the barley, roasted vegetables, and remaining ingredients to the bowl and toss to combine.

Makes 8 servings

Nutrition information per serving:
• Calories: 324
• Protein: 6 grams
• Fat: 19 grams
• Saturated fat: 3 grams
• Carbohydrate: 36 grams
• Dietary fibre: 10 grams
• Sodium: 533 milligrams

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Recipes, Whole Foods

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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4 Comments on “Whole Grains Month – Mediterranean Eggplant and Barley Salad”

  1. September 10, 2020 at 6:25 pm #

    This looks so delicious and healthy! Love whole grains!

  2. November 10, 2020 at 4:18 pm #

    This looks really good, unfortunately I am barley intolerance, I guess you could leave the barley out?

    • November 10, 2020 at 6:46 pm #

      Rather than leaving the barley out, I would suggest substituting another grain for the barley. If you’re looking for a gluten-free option, you could use a grain like quinoa or sorghum instead. Enjoy!

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