As we delve deeper into this sustainable, zero-plastic, less-waste, bread-baking, grain-preserving journey, we keep finding little ‘windows’ (as my friend Heather called it) into different ways of approaching life. Prior to pursuing a more eco-friendly lifestyle, our choices regarding the food industry stemmed from the most frugal of options. Ergo, hardly were our choices supportive of our planet’s well-being, let alone our own well-beings. As we age and start to see the consequences of such choices, we have been attempting to spin our compass needle to something a bit less, destructive(?) Needless to say, efforts have been made in consuming more healthy options, this recipe included. Aligned with my mantra of less is more, a minimalist approach to a simple recipe for a very versatile dish. Adapted from Kinfolk Table. This we eat alone as a salad, or as a side dish with broiled salmon. Upon first make, we eat it warm, but second helpings are eaten cold, straight from the fridge.
- 8 oz. of feta cheese, purchased from the Olive Bar, cut into small cubes
- 1.5 cups Roma tomatoes, diced
- 0.5 cups of mixed black and green olives from the Olive bar, pitted
- 0.25 cups chopped fresh herbs, such as oregano, rosemary and thyme
- 0.25 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup barley
- 2 cups water
- 2 ripe avocados diced into 0.5 inch cubes
- 16 oz. artichokes, cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges
- 1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
- 2 tbs. fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Turn the oven on to 390 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the center of the oven.
- While the ovens are pre-heating, combing feta, tomatoes, olives, herbs and olive oil on a foil-lined baking sheet and toss until mixed. Bake for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring the barley and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer the barley for 20 minutes or until tender. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a salad bowl.
- Add the avocados, artichokes, cucumber, basil and lemon juice to the barley and toss to combine. Stir in the feta mixture. Season to taste. I add a dash of red pepper flakes to get a little bit of a kick.