Minted Barley and Black-Eyed Peas

    3 hours 5 minutes

    The mild, sweet flavour and chewy texture of pearl barley is combined here with black-eyed peas and lots of colourful vegetables. A fresh-tasting tomato and mint dressing adds a summery feel to this wholesome salad. Serve on its own for dinner or lunch, with some fresh fruit to follow.

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    Serves: 4 

    • 3/4 cup (135 g) dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight in cold water
    • 1.5 litres vegetable stock, preferably homemade
    • strip of lemon zest
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 250 g baby leeks or chopped leeks
    • 1 tsp canola oil
    • 3/4 cup (145 g) pearl barley
    • 6 firm, ripe roma tomatoes (about 500 g in total), cut into thin wedges
    • 150 g baby spinach leaves, shredded
    • 1 bunch spring onions (about 85 g), halved and shredded
    • sprig of fresh mint to garnish
    • For the dressing
    • 2 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and finely chopped
    • 1 tbsp oil from the sun-dried tomatoes
    • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
    • 1 tbsp chopped fresh chervil
    • salt and pepper

    Preparation:20min  ›  Cook:2hours45min  ›  Ready in:3hours5min 

    1. Drain and rinse the peas then place them in a large saucepan and cover with plenty of cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 2 hours or until tender. Drain well.
    2. Put the stock in a saucepan with the lemon zest and bay leaf. Bring to a rapid boil, then add the leeks and cook for 2–3 minutes or until just tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and refresh briefly in cold water. Cut on the diagonal into 2.5 cm lengths. Set aside.
    3. Add the canola oil to the stock in the pan and bring back to the boil. Add the pearl barley, then cover and simmer for 30–40 minutes or until tender.
    4. Spoon out 2 tbsp of the stock and reserve, then drain the barley. Discard the lemon zest and bay leaf. Tip the barley into a bowl and leave to cool.
    5. Add the leeks, black-eyed peas, roma tomatoes, spinach and spring onions to the barley and stir gently to mix together.
    6. To make the dressing, put the sun-dried tomatoes, oil, vinegar, garlic, mint, chervil, reserved stock and salt and pepper to taste into a screw-top jar. Shake well.
    7. Drizzle the dressing over the barley and vegetables and toss to coat. Serve at room temperature, garnished with mint.

    Some more ideas…

    Spicy barley salad Skip step 1. Add a pinch of saffron threads when cooking the pearl barley and use 1 can red kidney beans (about 400 g), drained and rinsed, rather than black-eyed peas, adding them in step 5. For the dressing, whisk 1 deseeded and finely chopped fresh red chilli and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil with the vinegar and garlic, and add chopped fresh coriander leaves and parsley instead of the mint and chervil. * Because there is so much stock in the recipe, it's important to use homemade or a salt-reduced version to limit the amount of salt. Alternatively, dilute it with water.

    Health points

    Barley is low in fat and rich in starchy carbohydrate, and is a good source of B vitamins. It is an excellent food for those with diabetes because it is absorbed slowly. * Although highly refined, weight for weight pearl barley provides more dietary fibre than brown rice. * Spinach contains oxalic acid, which binds with iron, making most of it unavailable to the body. Eating spinach with something that is a good source of vitamin C, such as tomatoes, can increase iron absorption.

    Each serving provides

    GI estimate low.

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