Warm courgette, pearl barley, white bean and basil salad

Courgette saladGee I’m finding it hard to get back into work this year! Is anyone else having the same problem? or is that a silly question. I don’t know if it’s the glorious beach weather or the fact that I’m so over my job that is causing this. I suspect a bit of both.

Quite often I have to eat lunch around 1130am before I go to work and end up having dinner when I get home, anywhere from 730pm -1100pm. So, in summer, these are the dishes I live off, quick fridge and cupboard creations.

Yes it’s vegetarian but I make most of my salads that way. If anything a whisper of shredded chicken or if you want to make it even more substantial some pan fried lamb fillet would work well.

Warm courgette, pearl barley, white bean and basil salad

1 medium courgette

about 55g pearl barley

about 100g cooked white beans (I used cannelini)

1 small spring onion, finely chopped

2 sprigs of basil

persian fetta (optional)

ground pepperberries

Dressing

I large tablespoon greek yogurt

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 tablespoon good extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Put pearl barley in a small saucepan, cover with water so it’s about an inch above the barley and bring to boil on the stovetop. Reduce to a simmer for 12-15 minutes until cooked but still retaining some bite. While the pearl barley is cooking, slice the courgette. Lightly oil (I used spray) a med-hot pan and lay courgette in a single layer. Lightly oil the side facing up while in the pan and add salt and pepper. Turn then over when lightly browned. Don’t cook the courgette to a mush, you want them to be lightly browned and just cooked through. Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Adjust to taste.

To assemble scatter half the drained pearl barley in your dish, top with half your spring onions, and half your white beans, lay some courgettes over top, and repeat. Top with basil leaves, a small amount of crumbled fetta, dollop a few teaspoons of the dressing around and sprinkle with ground pepperberries. If you don’t like a dairy overload you can choose either the fetta or dressing but I like a little of both. The dressing will keep for two weeks in the fridge. It’s great on other salads too.

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