Mediterranean Barley Salad

Loaded with fiber and flavor, this lovely salad makes wonderful pot-luck fare and is great served alongside a piece of grilled steak. It stores well, chilled, for up to 5 days. This recipe makes 8 servings.

PREP TIME: 55 minutes
COOK TIME: 45 minutes

For the dressing:
1/2 cup olive oil
Juice from 1 fresh lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the salad:
1 1/2 cups dry pearled barley
3 cups vegetable stock
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded, cored and chopped
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
6 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled

Make the dressing: Whisk together all dressing ingredients in a non-reactive bowl. Set aside until ready to use.

Heat vegetable stock to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add barley and stir to combine. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until barley is tender, about 45 minutes. Let barley cool for at least 45 minutes before continuing.

Once barley has cooled (it's OK if the barley is still a bit warm), transfer to a mixing bowl. Add bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, olives and basil; fold gently to combine. Add dressing and fold together once more. Sprinkle feta on top and adjust seasoning. You can serve this slightly warm or cover and chill for an hour or two before serving.