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.
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.
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.
GI estimate low.