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Barley, Pomegranate and Orange Salad

Barley, Pomegranate And Orange Salad

While searching for a recipe to serve at my recent book group dinner, where the book was set in Israel, I naturally thought of  Yotam Ottolenghi, the pre-eminent Israeli chef whose cookbooks (and restaurants in London) are a treasure trove of Middle Eastern cooking.  I was surprised to find a salad using bulgur, since I associated the grain mostly with soups. Since pomegranates are a favorite of mine, the recipe was calling my name. Although not included in Ottolenghi’s recipe, I felt the urge to add the oranges — both blood oranges and cara cara oranges — since they were in season and added more color and flavor. The celery leaves are crucial in this recipe, and unfortunately most celery in supermarkets has scant leaves. If you’re lucky enough to find a locally grown bunch of celery, you’ll more likely to find leaves on the ends of the stalks. But even with the supermarket celery, I managed to pluck enough leaves to add to the recipe. This salad is delicious even several days after making it, so keep it in mind for a do-ahead recipe to take to a party.

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Barley Salad
Recipe adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's book "Plenty"
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 6 celery stalks (leaves picked and reserved), cut into dice
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 small garlic cloves, crushed
  • ⅔ teaspoon ground allspice
  • salt, black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • sections from 2 oranges (I used one cara cara and one blood orange)
  1. Cook the barley according to package directions.
  2. Usually, it is simply placed in a pot and covered with water, then boiled for about 30 minutes.
  3. Drain the barley and transfer to a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the celery, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, allspice and salt and pepper.
  5. Stir, then leave to cool completely.
  6. When it's cool, add the herbs, celery leaves, pomegranate seeds and orange sections.
  7. Squeeze the juice from the remaining pulpy part of the orange that's left into the bowl and mix.
  8. Serve.

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. Lovely salad recipe which I shall assuredly copy ! Like the orange and the celery ! Use a lot of barley but shall probably try this with Israeli couscous which I love in salad form. In Australia, even in ordinary supermarkets bunches of celery are always presented like a bunch of flowers with all their leaves – there would be immediate complaints if those were missing, as everyone does use them . . . oh, very much like the bowl you have used for serving . . .

  2. Sounds like a very sprightly salad. And very pretty! I really like the fact you’re making use of celery leaves, they must really brighten the flavor. Too bad, as you say, they usually trim most of them off in the stores.

  3. A wonderful sounding salad. I’ve been playing around with grains lately so this falls right in with future dinner plains.
    As for celery, our grocery market does the same and trim the leaves, luckily we can get the celery with leaves at our weekend produce market.

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