My Barley Salad with Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas is a hearty, vegetarian, whole grain dish packed with nutrients and flavor.
One of my favorite things to do when I have a day off is to visit my local farmers market. When I go grocery shopping for a blog post, I have to plan ahead and take a very organized list with me because recipe testing requires that kind of diligence. But when I have a day off and am cooking just for my family, I like to go without a list and see what inspires me.
So the other day I grabbed my shopping bag and set off to Marando Farms, a local farmers market down the road. When I got to the farmers market, I was delighted to find the most beautiful organic rainbow carrots so I immediately snatched up a bunch! I also found lovely oranges, apples, and cucumbers, which I added to my bag.
When I got home, I decided to make a Barley Salad with Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas- a nutritious, veggie-forward meal featuring my lovely farmers market produce. Searching my pantry, I found a bag of barley so I decided to make a barley salad featuring those rainbow carrots. But if you don’t have barley, this dish would work just as well with any whole grain such as farro, quinoa or wild rice.
One of my favorite ways to cook carrots and intensity their flavor is to roast them at a high temperature in the oven. To complement the natural sweetness of the carrots, I decided to toss them with some rich, savory Middle Eastern spices including cumin, turmeric and paprika. Since I was turning on my oven for the carrots, I threw in a tray of chickpeas as well. Roasted chickpeas are a great addition to salads and also make a nutritious snack. I tossed the chickpeas with the same spice blend, giving them plenty of color as well as flavor.
Once my carrots and chickpeas were done, I tossed them with the cooked barley, some crunchy pistachios and fresh parsley. To tie my Barley Salad with Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas all together, I made a Lemon Tahini dressing using tahini, a sesame paste commonly used in Middle Eastern cuisine (and one of the main ingredients in hummus). The dressing packs a bright, citrusy punch that perfectly complements the sweet vegetables and earthy spices. Hearty enough to be a main course, this plant-based salad is sure to please. And if you make enough, it’s perfect to pack up for lunch the next day.
Barley Salad with Roasted Carrots and Chickpeas
- 1 cup barley
- 3 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth or water
- 6 rainbow carrots peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided use
- 1 can chickpeas (15.5 ounces), drained and dried with a towel
- ½ cup roughly chopped, fresh parsley
- ¼ cup shelled pistachios
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or any type of paprika)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Lemon Tahini Dressing:
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- ½ clove garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Place the barley and vegetable broth in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook until barley is soft and chewy (cooking time will vary depending on the type of barley used). Transfer the barley to a large mixing bowl.
- Toss the carrots with 2 teaspoons olive oil on a baking sheet. Toss the chickpeas with 2 teaspoons olive oil on a second baking sheet.
- To make the spice mix, mix the cumin, turmeric, paprika, and salt in a small bowl.
- Toss the carrots with half of the spice mix and toss the chickpeas with the other half of the spice mix. Roast the carrots and chickpeas in the oven until crisp tender, 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and add to the bowl with the barley.
- To make the dressing, whisk the lemon juice, tahini, garlic, olive oil, water, salt and pepper together in a bowl.
- Add the dressing and the parsley to the bowl and stir to combine all ingredients. Adjust seasoning to taste. Transfer to a serving platter and top with pistachios and extra parsley.