One of my favorite parts about where I live is that I have friends close by. This is convenient and enjoyable for many reasons, but the at the top of the list is probably the sentence: “I made extra __________ for dinner, want to come over?” I’ve been on both the uttering and receiving end of that very sentence a pleasant many times and most recently, the stars aligned when I had extra salmon and my neighbor had extra salad.
Combined, we had an actual meal.
Though I’ve never been disappointed by one of my friend Angie’s Greek or spinach salads (she makes kick-ass salad dressings and I wouldn’t say that lightly), this was a nice change from leafy greens. Think: flavorful pesto sauce combined with hearty barley dotted with edamame. There is nothing bad about anything in that sentence and it was even better cold the next day.
The recipe was slightly adapted from another food blog. We had a little snafu during the pesto-making process and wound up adding extra lemon juice as well as spinach to the pesto recipe, only to discover that we kinda liked it that way. Though the spinach wasn’t in the original version, I am a big fan of adding spinach to pesto sauce. It has little impact on the flavor but adds to the nutritional profile.
For the pesto:
- 2 cups basil leaves, loosely packed
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves, loosely packed
- 1 cup slivered raw almonds
- 4 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons. lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
- 4 cups cooked barley (about 2 cups uncooked prepared according to package directions)*
- 1 pound. shelled, frozen edamame beans
- Prepare the pesto. Blend by blending all of the ingredients together in a food processor until the ingredients are completely combined (and no longer visible individually). Set aside.
- Meanwhile, blanch the edamame. Set aside a bowl of cold ice water large enough to hold all of the edamame. Boil edamame in a pot for about five minutes until they are tender but still firm. Drain in a colander and pour directly into the ice water, which stops them from cooking further and keeps them firm and crisp.
- In a large bowl, toss the cooked barley with the edamame and half the pesto mixture. Taste and add more pesto if needed. Continue tasting and adding more sauce until you are satisfied with the ratio of pesto to barley. Save leftover pesto in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze it in a plastic bag for up to a month. 4 – 6 main servings as a main dish.