Tomato and Parsley Barley Salad with Marinated Feta

Parsley Barley Tomato Salad with Marinated Feta

Wanting a light and refreshing salad to go along with a Middle Eastern meal featuring baked homemade falafel served up in wraps, the idea for this easy-to-prepare fresh salad is based on tabbouleh. As I had some freshly ground za'atar on hand, I decided to power up that idea to include spices, cherry tomatoes, mixed bell peppers, lightly roasted cashews, and za'atar marinated pieces of sheep's milk feta cheese.

Tomato and Parsley Salad with Barley and Feta

The distinguishing feature of tabbouleh is the prominence of fresh parsley and the presence of bulgur wheat in varying proportions, in addition to other chopped vegetables such as tomatoes. The fresh salad is dressed with a simple combination of fresh lemon juice, olive oil and basic seasonings, and also usually features fresh mint.

The salad I present here is quite different from a traditional tabbouleh, as instead of bulgur or even couscous, which has a similar texture, I wanted a chewier grain and so boiled up a small quantity of pearl barley instead. I omitted fresh mint and included some chopped peppers, and for a more substantial touch, topped each portion with some marinated feta cheese chunks. Marinating the feta cheese in za'atar — a highly aromatic, zesty and salty Middle Eastern spice blend of toasted sesame seeds, dried thyme, dried marjoram and sumac — really adds an additional complementary punch to the fresh and bursting flavors that make the salad itself. In fact, the marinated pieces of feta cheese are so good, you'll have to stop yourself from eating them before serving the salad.

Tomato and Parsley Barley Salad with Marinated FetaTomato and Parsley Barley Salad with Marinated Feta
Recipe by
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Published on April 22, 2019

Fresh and vibrant Middle Eastern style parsley salad with spices, nuts, peppers, tomatoes and pieces of za'atar marinated feta cheese

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

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  • 1/4 cup pearl barley
  • 1 cup feta cheese, cubed
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons za'atar
  • 2/3 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly toasted and crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 large bunch fresh curly leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 to 5 green onions, green and white parts, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup raw cashew pieces, lightly toasted
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 small yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 10 to 12 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • juice from 1 lemon (2 to 3 tablespoons)
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Begin by cooking the barley. In a small saucepan, cover the barley with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the barley is tender but chewy — about 40 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

  • Meanwhile, gently toss the feta cheese in a small bowl with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil, za'atar, coriander seeds, cumin and chili powder. Set aside, stirring occasionally to distribute the marinade.

  • Add the parsley, green onions, cashew pieces, peppers and tomatoes to the barley. Mix to combine. Now add the allspice, lemon juice, and the remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss well to coat. Add more olive oil to the bowl if desired. Season with salt and black pepper.

  • To serve, top each portion of salad with pieces of the marinated feta cheese.

  • Store any remaining salad in the refrigerator, keeping the marinated feta separate in a sealed container.

Makes 4 servings

Parsley Barley Tomato Salad with Marinated Feta

Other fresh salads to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Chickpea Olive Salad with Za'atar and Cherry Tomatoes
Chickpea, Olive and Feta Cheese Salad
Quinoa Spinach Salad with Feta, Pomegranate and Toasted Almonds
Cauliflower & Olive Salad
Watermelon & Feta Salad With Olives

On the top of the reading stack: Tahini and Turmeric: 101 Middle Eastern Classics--Made Irresistibly Vegan

Audio Accompaniment: Perfect Island by Ensueno

1 comment:

mary beth said...

This looks so good,and I have all the ingredients. I will be making this soon. Thank you!