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Yotam Ottolenghi’s Pearl Barley Tabouleh

With the weather starting to warm up, my mind and body has well and truly been set to salad mode.  With a long summer ahead, I am keen to broaden my repertoire and enjoy salads with all sorts of grains and pulses tossed through to give some substance to the dish.
I have written before about Yotam Ottolenghi and his Middle Eastern influenced dishes. I was originally going to make the Open Kibbeh from a page I had torn out of the Weekend Guardian but the Pearl Barley Tabouleh accompaniment caught my eye so the kibbeh will wait for another day.  This is so quick and simple, I will be making it quite a lot on a Sunday night so we can take it for lunch during the week.  With some good bread, it makes a filling lunch.  With some sumac rubbed BBQ lamb, it would be out of sight.
Yotam's Pearl Barley 1

And how about that fork?  ‘Greetings from BOONAH’. Who’d have thought that they turned out such elegant souvenirs in Boonah? Another op shop find. 

Yotam's Pearl Barley 3

Pearl Barley Tabouleh w Marinated Feta

  • 40g pearl barley
  • 100g feta
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp zaa’tar
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted & lightly crushed
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • good handful of parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 spring onions finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 40g cashew nuts, toasted & roughly crushed
  • 1 green capsicum, de-seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 60ml olive oil
  • salt & pepper


  1. Place pearl barley in a saucepan, cover with plenty of water and boil for 30 minutes until tender but still with ‘bite’.  Drain, refresh and place into fine sieve to drain whilst preparing other ingredients.
  2. Mix zaa’tar, cumin, coriander and 1 1/2 tsp olive oil in bowl. Break feta into rough, 2cm pieces, add to bowl and gently mix to coat feta with spices. Set aside to marinate whilst preparing other ingredients.
  3. Chop parsley, spring onions, garlic, cashews and capsicum.  Place in large bowl and add pearl barley.  Toss to combine
  4. Mix lemon juice, oil and allspice to emulsify and stir through salad. Season to taste.
  5. Divide salad between 4 plate and top with marinated feta.
Yotam's Pearl Barley Tabouleh - just like it's served in Boonah...

Yotam’s Pearl Barley Salad – just like it’s served in Boonah…

McKenzies Pearl Barley is available in the soup section of your supermarket, with the dried beans and soup mixes
– I didn’t add the garlic as the flavour seems harsh, when raw in a salad and there’s plenty of other flavours
– Substitutes: I had no cashews so toasted almonds on top, no capsicum so blanched green beans, no allspice so sumac added a nice tang
– I added some refreshing cucumber and salad leaves to make it a full meal rather than a side

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