Mediterranean Barley Salad with Spiced Chickpeas


For the dressing

  • 13 cup tahini
  • 13 cup water
  • 14 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 teaspoon cumin
  • 14 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 12 teaspoon salt

For the spiced chickpeas

  • 1 (15 ounces) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 12 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 14 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 18 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the salad

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 3 cups cooked barley (or other similar grain)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 bunch parsley, minced


  1. Combine all dressing ingredients in blender or in blender cup for immersion blender.  Blend until smooth then refrigerate until ready to use.  
  2. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat and cook lamb until done.  Remove lamb from skillet with slotted spoon, leaving fat in pan.  Add chickpeas to skillet and sprinkle with paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.  Saute the chickpeas for about 5 minutes, stirring to coat with spices, until chickpeas are slightly browned and blistered.  Season with salt to taste and remove to plate.  
  3. Toss barley, lamb, chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, and parsley in large bowl, the top with dressing and serve.  


This recipe is from Budget Bytes.  The original used farro and was meatless, but I had barley on hand and wanted to add some meat.  It was tasty and made for great cold lunches in the following days.

Oven Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad


  • 1 12 pounds cherry tomatoes
  • 1 12 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 12 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 14 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into small pieces
  • 14 cup basil leaves, finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest


  1. Heat oven to 375*F.  Add cherry tomatoes, olive oil, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and sugar to 9 by 13 inch baking dish.  Toss to combine.  Roast until just starting to char, about 40 minutes, tossing occasionally to cook evenly.  
  2. Remove from oven and cool 5 to 10 minutes.  Transfer tomatoes along with any any accumulated juices to large bowl.  Add mozzarella and basil.  Gently toss to combine.  Add lemon zest then season with salt and pepper.  Toss again and serve.  


This recipe is from Serious Eats.  It was super tasty, but I love anything with tomatoes and mozzarella.  Roasting the tomatoes added a nice layer to the flavors.

Tomato Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette, Capers, and Basil


  • 3 tablespoons shallots, minced
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 12 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 12 teaspoon sugar
  • 12 cup olive oil
  • 5 large ripe beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes, cut into 12” cubes
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 fresh medium basil leaves, thinly sliced


  1. Combine shallots, vinegar, 12 teaspoon salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil to blend. Set vinaigrette aside.  (Or blend all ingredients with stick blender.)  
  2. Mix remaining ingredients in large bowl then toss with vinaigrette.  


This recipe is from  It was fairly tasty but I think the shallots were a bit too overpowering.  The leftovers haven’t ben too popular so I’m thinking about adding some white beans and fresh mozzarella to them to up the protein for better lunches.

Dilled Bean Salad


  • 3-4 cans beans of any variety, rinsed and well drained (I used garbanzo, black bean, and small red beans)
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (I used lemon balsamic)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Mix together all ingredients in large bowl.  Cover and refrigerate at least three hours before serving.  


This recipe is from A Couple Cooks.  I found it because I had some fresh dill to use up and it worked well.  I did find the onion to be overpowering.  I used a standard yellow onion and I think the recipe would have been much better with either red onion or green onion.  Otherwise it was really tasty!

Greek Cherry Tomato Salad

2 pints cherry tomatoes, quartered
Table salt
12 teaspoon sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 teaspoon dried oregano
1 medium shallot, minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Ground black pepper
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 12-inch dice
12 cup capers, rinsed and drained
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1. Toss tomatoes, 14 teaspoon salt, and sugar in medium bowl and let stand for 30 minutes. Transfer tomatoes to salad spinner and spin until seeds and excess liquid have been removed. Return tomatoes to bowl and set aside.

2. Bring tomato liquid from salad spinner, garlic, oregano, shallot, and vinegar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until reduced to 3 tablespoons, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to small bowl and cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Whisk in oil and pepper to taste until combined. Taste and season with up to 18 teaspoon table salt.

3. Add cucumber, capers, feta, dressing, and parsley to bowl with tomatoes then toss gently and serve.

Greek Cherry Tomato Salad

This recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated 2008 and it was delicious!  But I love anything with cucumbers and tomatoes like this, so it’s no surprise that I loved every bit.  The original recipe called for olives, but I used capers instead.  Yum. 

Shown here with Grilled Chicken with Garlic and Herb Marinade.

Creamy Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing

23 cup whole milk large curd cottage cheese
23 cup buttermilk
13 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
12 teaspoon kosher salt
12 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine all ingredients in immersion blender cup.  Blend well and refrigerate until ready for use. 

No photo

This recipe is from The Galley Gourmet and I quite enjoyed it even though I forgot to take a picture!

Tangy Feta Dressing

14 cup feta cheese, crumbled
14 cup plain yogurt
14 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 cup fresh parsley
Juice of 1 orange
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Salt, to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in immersion blender cup and process until smooth. 

Tangy Feta Dressing

This recipe is from Healthy Green Kitchen.  It was meant to be served with roasted broccoli but the broccoli I had from the market had little teeny worms all over it and I got really grossed out thinking about whether or not I’d gotten them all so I decided to scrap the broccoli and just go with lettuce instead.  This dressing is delicious.  It has a lot of great citrus and the feta and yogurt add lovely tang.

I ate some of the leftovers on sliced tomatoes - glorious. 

Shown here with Tangy Barbecue Chicken.

Shanghai Chicken Salad

12 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons plus 13 cup soy sauce
13 cup hoisin sauce
1 12 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated or minced
14 cup sesame oil
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
12 head Napa or Chinese cabbage, shredded
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal
1 cup chow mein noodles

1. Whisk vinegar, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, and sesame oil together in medium bowl. Place chicken in single layer in Dutch oven. Pour 12 cup vinegar mixture over chicken breasts; reserve remaining vinegar mixture to use as dressing. Add remaining 13 cup soy sauce and 3 cups water to pot. Bring to boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer chicken until cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes.

2. Transfer chicken to plate, cover, and refrigerate until cool enough to handle. Shred chicken into long, thin strands using two forks or fingers.

3. Transfer chicken to large serving bowl, toss with 2 tablespoons dressing, and season with salt and pepper. Add cabbage, bell pepper, green onion, and remaining dressing and toss to combine. Sprinkle with chow mein noodles and serve.

Note: I recommend only topping it with chow mein noodles when ready to serve.  If you top the leftovers before refrigeration, they’ll get soggy. 

Shanghai Chicken Salad

This recipe is another winner from Cook’s Country 2005.  I may have gone slightly overboard on the chow mein noodles in this picture, I love them.  This salad was really scrumptious.  I claimed all the leftovers.  The sauce was very flavorful and I loved the veggies and the crunch of the salad.  It’s also really nice to see an Asian chicken salad recipe that doesn’t involve peanut butter, they’re few and far between. 


Cook’s Country 2005

Lemony White Bean, Tuna, and Arugula Salad

1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces arugula
1 (15 ounces) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
12 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
12 ounces tuna in olive oil, flaked into small pieces

1. In large salad bowl, stir together lemon zest, juice, and maple syrup.  Stir or whisk until oil is incorporated.  Season with 12 teaspoon salt and 14 teaspoon pepper. 

2. Add arugula, beans, red onion, capers, and tuna, tossing well to combine. Check for seasoning and add extra salt and pepper to taste. 

Lemony White Bean, Tuna, and Arugula Salad

This recipe is from Weeknights with Giada.  I made it to have for lunches one week, since I tend to prefer lighter, salad-type meals for lunches.  I didn’t take this picture right away, and the arugula wilted significantly due to the acid in the dressing by that point.  If this bothers you, I’d wait to add the arugula just before serving each portion to preserve its structure. 

I thought this salad was great.  The lemony dressing was delicious and I loved the flavors and textures from all the ingredients.  Another win from Giada.

Weeknights with Giada

Wheat Berry Salad with Orange Dijon Vinaigrette

2 cups wheat berries
1 small red onion, diced
12 pound tomatoes, diced
12 cup fresh parsley, minced

For the dressing
Zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 orange
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place wheat berries in dry skillet over medium-high heat.  Toast, stirring constantly, until the grains pop and deepen in color, about 4 minutes. 

2. Place wheat berries in rice cooker bowl and cover with hot water; let soak in machine for 1 hour.  Drain wheat berries and return them to rice cooked.  Add 4 cups water, 2 pinches salt and stir to combine.  Close machine and set for brown rice or regular cycle. 

3. When machine finishes cooking, let wheat berries steam in cooker for 15 minutes before removing to bowl to cool. 

4. Once wheat berries have cooled, stir in red onion, tomatoes, and parsley.  (Amounts given are a guideline, as always, especially with salads!) 

5. Whisk together dressing ingredients or blend together using immersion blender.  Working 14 cup at a time, add dressing into salad, stirring and tasting after each addition.  Dress to you tastes, reserve any leftover dressing for another use.  (I used all of the dressing, but tastes vary.)

Wheat Berry Salad

This recipe is inspired by a suggestion in The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook.  (There’s a new revised and updated version!  I love this book!)  This is the first time I’ve ever made wheat berries, I didn’t even know they existed until a friend mentioned them on Facebook and then I ordered a bunch from Amazon

They are great!  They’ve got a nice bite to them, fantastic texture, and really great flavor as well.  I served this salad as a side dish for a meal and then had it by itself for lunches the next few days.  It’s delicious and I look forward to experimenting more with wheat berries in the future!

Person - Gwen