Several months ago, I decided to investigate some of the quick-cooking grains available at Trader Joe’s. I already reviewed the quick-cooking steel cut oats, and when I was rustling around in my pantry last week I decided it was time to give the 10 Minute Barley a test drive. My impetus was the recipe below, which I had photographed out of some cookbook or other. The recipe was tasty and quick to prepare, and I was pleased with how the barley turned out. I don’t cook a lot with barley, but this had a pleasingly chewy texture that’s a bit different than the grains (farro, bulgur and rice) that I usually make grain-based salads with.

Barley Salad with Parsley and Walnuts

1 package ….. OR 1 cup dry whole grain barley
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1. If using the quick-cooking barley, cook as directed on package. If using “regular” barley, rinse with water using a strainer to remove any debris. Bring 3 1/2 cups water to boil in a medium sauce pan, add barley and return to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes or until tender.
2. For either type of barley, when done cooking drain off any excess liquid.
3. In large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add cooked barley, walnuts, parsley and feta cheese to bowl and toss gently

Notes: I am reviewing this product of my own volition, and paid for it out of my own pocket. We enjoyed the barley salad with a nice piece of King salmon and some dandelion greens with a warm, mustardy vinaigrette.