Ratatouille Barley Salad

Ratatouille has been a favorite of mine for a while now. It’s one of of my favorite summer meals – all those bright vegetables in a fresh, filling dish. This salad turned out to be a great twist on a classic, and the balsamic vinegar added just the right amount of bite. I actually added an extra tablespoon more than the original recipe called for, I love it a little extra tang. Another great salad for my list of things to bring to a dinner party!

Ratatouille Barley Salad
via sprouted kitchen

1 cup pearled barley
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking
8 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 eggplant, chopped into 1/2″ cubes
about 6 zucchini, 1/2” coins
2 cups baby tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup finely chopped basil
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
grated parmesan, as desired
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed

Rinse the barley. Put it in a pot with about 3 cups of water. Bring it to a boil then down to a simmer, add a few pinches of salt and cook for about 25-30 minutes until tender. Drain any excess water and transfer the grains to a big mixing bowl. Add the minced garlic and a pinch of salt while the grains are still hot, and stir. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar, stir to coat. Set aside.
Heat a hearty drizzle of olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Add the zucchini and a generous sprinkle of ground pepper and saute until well charred and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the barley bowl. Rub ground pepper and salt on all sides of the eggplant. Sear the eggplant in the pan, with a bit of olive oil. Let the eggplant cool slightly and add it to the barley bowl. Add the halved tomatoes, basil, parsley and toss everything to mix. Taste for salt (remember you’re adding parm so go easy) and pepper and maybe a bit more vinegar if you prefer.
Transfer to a serving bowl. Generously sprinkle the grated parmesan on top and another pinch of fresh herbs and fresh pepper. Serve at room temperature.

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