Warm Balsamic Barley Salad

Tender and chewy barley mingles with ripe tomato, vegan Italian sausage, bright swiss chard, and protein-rich chickpeas. Lightly bathed in a basil-balsamic dressing, this is a beautiful and hearty salad that’s great warm or cold. It tastes even better the following day, which makes it the perfect “make ahead” salad!

Produce On Parade - Warm Balsamic Barley Salad - Tender and chewy barley mingles with ripe tomato, vegan Italian sausage, bright swiss chard, and protein-rich chickpeas. Lightly bathed in a basil-balsamic dressing, this is a beautiful and hearty salad that?s great warm or cold. It tastes even better the following day, which makes it the perfect ?make ahead? salad!

Hey there! How's the midweek going for you? Mine has been really good; kind of busy but in the best way possible. My brother-in-law is visiting us here in Alaska from his college in Vermont to work on a short documentary regarding climate change. Part of that involved the Iditarod. Did you know for two years in a row snow has been carted by train over 350 miles from Fairbanks to Anchorage for the ceremonial start? This year it was shortened from 11 miles to just 3 miles. Pretty scary stuff. We spent the weekend photographing the dogs and Ross used his drone to capture some pretty awesome images. You can see more of his work at his Instagram, under username jrhenry10. Below is a drone shot he took of a musher leaving Willow after the real start (restart) with Denali in the background. 

He has also decided to be completely vegan for a month in response to realizing the effects of animal agriculture on the environment. The single best thing we can do to stop climate change is to stop consuming animal products. Maybe we can get him to be vegan for good? ;) Muahhahaha. If you'd like to learn more about the environment and how drastically it's affected by animal agriculture, check out the infographic at the very bottom of this post; it's one of the best I've seen yet.

As far as eating is concerned, humans are the most stupid animals on the planet. We kill billions of wild animals to protect the animals that we eat. We are destroying our environment to feed the animals we eat. We spend more time, money and resources fattening up the animals that we eat, than we do feeding humans who are dying of hunger. The greatest irony is that after all the expenses of raising these animals, we eat them; and they kill us slowly. And rather than recognize this madness, we torture and murder millions of other animals trying to find cures to diseases caused by eating animals in the first place.
— Mike Anderson
Produce On Parade - Warm Balsamic Barley Salad - Tender and chewy barley mingles with ripe tomato, vegan Italian sausage, bright swiss chard, and protein-rich chickpeas. Lightly bathed in a basil-balsamic dressing, this is a beautiful and hearty salad that?s great warm or cold. It tastes even better the following day, which makes it the perfect ?make ahead? salad!
Produce On Parade - Warm Balsamic Barley Salad - Tender and chewy barley mingles with ripe tomato, vegan Italian sausage, bright swiss chard, and protein-rich chickpeas. Lightly bathed in a basil-balsamic dressing, this is a beautiful and hearty salad that?s great warm or cold. It tastes even better the following day, which makes it the perfect ?make ahead? salad!

With the excitement and yearning for Todd and I to hang out with Ross instead of cooking, I've been turning to quick and easy dishes. Basically, my veg from the CSA box and any grain that tickles my fancy that day (or whatever I have left in the pantry). Along with fresh herbs (thanks to my Aerogarden), vegan sausage from the freezer, and some canned chickpeas this salad was among my favorite meals of the week! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Produce On Parade - Warm Balsamic Barley Salad - Tender and chewy barley mingles with ripe tomato, vegan Italian sausage, bright swiss chard, and protein-rich chickpeas. Lightly bathed in a basil-balsamic dressing, this is a beautiful and hearty salad that?s great warm or cold. It tastes even better the following day, which makes it the perfect ?make ahead? salad!

Warm Balsamic Barley Salad

Kathleen Henry @ Produce On Parade

Published 03/08/2016

Tender and chewy barley mingles with ripe tomato, vegan Italian sausage, bright swiss chard, and protein-rich chickpeas. Lightly bathed in a basil-balsamic dressing, this is a beautiful and hearty salad that’s great warm or cold. It tastes even better the following day, which makes it the perfect “make ahead” salad!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pearled barley, dry
  • 3 cups water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Italian Field Roast sausages, diced
  • 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small bunch of swiss or red chard, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • ½ tbsp soy sauce
  • Pinch of salt, to taste
  • Dash of black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chiffonade (optional)
  • Garnish of broccoli sprouts or microgreens (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, bring the barley, water, and a pinch of salt to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cover; cook for about 30-45 minutes until the barley is tender and chewy. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the barley cooks, heat the olive oil over medium-low in a large rimmed frying pan. Add the sausage, tomato, and chard; saute for about 5 minutes until the chard has wilted. Stir in the remaining ingredients excluding the fresh basil and sprouts; cook for an additional 5 minutes to warm the chickpeas.
  3. Once the barley is done cooking, stir it into the chickpea mixture to combine. Serve the salad warm or cold and topped with fresh basil and sprouts. This salad is even better the following day!

Yield: 4

Anouk - Produce On Parade

Anouk (ann-uhk) says hello! Isn't he the cutest? It's really strange having a small dog as I've always grew up with large dogs and let's be honest... Bob is pretty much the size of small pony with giraffe legs. I love the pink little butterfly on his nose too! It's very saddening that just about every week I discover a new scar on him somewhere. He has a little Alfalfaesc hair tuft on the very top of his head that I am always trying to smooth down; yesterday I realized there's a big scar underneath and that's why the surrounding hair doesn't lay flat *sad face*. He's only eight months! How could anyone hurt a little puppy? However, it warms my heart to know he's in a safe and loving home now *happy face*!

Produce On Parade - Warm Balsamic Barley Salad - Tender and chewy barley mingles with ripe tomato, vegan Italian sausage, bright swiss chard, and protein-rich chickpeas. Lightly bathed in a basil-balsamic dressing, this is a beautiful and hearty salad that?s great warm or cold. It tastes even better the following day, which makes it the perfect ?make ahead? salad!

If you've been vegan for a while you've probably found yourself wondering how on earth your veggie laden entree is the same price as it's meaty counterpart. This article from Serious Eats helps you understand why. Still doesn't answer why we can't catch a break on holding off on the cheese and meats on pizza though...