Spinach has pretty much always been a staple in my refrigerator, but ever since I started blending it into my morning smoothie, I’ve been going through about 5 large bunches a week. I am usually so careful about making sure I have some left for breakfast that I kind of stopped cooking dinner with it.
But then on a run I started thinking about spinach, and barley, and red onions, and cilantro (which we now have growing in pots in our kitchen), and I immediately came home and put together this salad. It’s full of good stuff – healthy fats from avocado and walnuts, and a nice summery flavor from the lemon cilantro dressing. This makes a LOT, and the leftovers are great for lunch. I might have to start picking up a few extra bunches of spinach at the farmers market every week, because I think salads like this one are going to be in heavy rotation all summer!
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups pearled barley
1 medium zucchini, diced
4 cups (or more) spinach leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 avocado, cubed
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper
Bring the water to a boil and add the barley. Simmer until tender, 30-40 minutes, then drain the excess water. Let cool.
Combine the diced zucchini, spinach, walnuts, avocado, red onion, and green onion in a large bowl. Add the barley and mix well.
To make the dressing, mash the garlic and salt with a mortar and pestle to make a smooth paste. Transfer to a blender and add the lemon juice, cilantro, olive oil, and a pinch or two of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth, then add as much as desired to the salad, tossing to mix.