Summer barley salad

Ingredients

2 cups of barley

4 cups of water

1 cob of corn

1 large carrot julienned

Handful of snow peas

1 red capsicum diced finely

1 red onion diced finely

1 bunch of fresh mint finely chopped

1 bunch of flat leaf parsley finely chopped

½ cup of almonds roughly chopped

(Feel free to substitute other seasonal steamed vegetables e.g. asparagus)

Dressing

Juice of ½ large lemon

3-4 dessertspoons of tamari (wheat free soy sauce) depending on how salty you like your food

3 dessertspoons of extra virgin olive oil

Method

Place barley and water in saucepan, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer with lid on for 20-25 minutes until the water has absorbed. Leave to sit in pot with lid on for a further 5 minutes.

Chop the capsicum, red onion and herbs and place in a large salad bowl. Steam the cob of corn. Allow to cool slightly before using a knife to remove the corn kernels from the cob. Steam the carrot and add the snow peas after a few minutes (vegetables should be cooked but still crisp). Add the cooked vegetables and chopped almonds to the salad.

Combine the dressing ingredients in a screw top jar and shake with lid on to combine.

Add the cooked barley to the salad bowl while still hot. Add the dressing and stir well to combine the flavours. This salad keeps well in the fridge and tastes even better the next day.

Serving suggestions

Serve on its own or with fetta, chicken, fish or marinated tofu. The barley and almonds make up a complete protein, but if you like, you could add cooked puy lentils for a vegetarian variation. This recipe works well for lunches, served with canned fish or tofu.

Serves 4-6

Nutritional Value

Researchers from the University of Toronto developed a cholesterol-lowering diet called the "Portfolio Diet" that was able to reduce cholesterol levels just as effectively as low-dose statins (the drugs commonly used for lowering cholesterol). One of the four components of this diet was eating more soluble/viscous fibre - particularly oats, psyllium and barley.30 grams (28 almonds) daily is also recommended as one of the dietary strategies (hence the addition of almonds to this salad).

Barley is often used in soups and stews so ideal for the winter, but what about summer when we feel like eating lighter meals? This salad combines the fresh tastes of summer, contains no animal fat, and incorporates a variety of vegetables including the nutrient-rich green leafy vegetables, in the form of herbs. The lemon juice in the dressing allows the iron from leafy vegetables, such as parsley, to be better absorbed.