Another recipe that was highly recommended by editors of the food section in The New York Times. We will be paying close attention to those reviews from now on, because so far everything we’ve tried has been a total winner. I made a few modifications to adapt to our taste, so I share my version with you. Barley is definitely under-appreciated.

(adapted from The New York Times)

1 cup pearled barley
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 pounds carrots, washed, trimmed and cut into long pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
zest of 1 lemon
2 cups arugula
A handful of cilantro
¼ cup toasted sliced almonds

for the spiced tahini:
¼ cup tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon Ras-el-hanout
water to adjust consistency

Heat oven to 425 degrees and place a rack on the lowest shelf. In a medium saucepan, combine barley with 4 cups water; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain excess water if still some remains.

Meanwhile, place the carrots on a sheet pan, drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat, spreading into an even layer. Season with salt and pepper. Place on the bottom oven rack and roast until tender and starting to turn golden, about 25 minutes.

While the carrots roast, make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, Ras-el-hanout, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is smooth and has a pourable consistency.

When the carrots are ready, remove them from the oven, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with lemon zest. Season with a pinch of salt and toss to coat.

In a serving bowl, combine the carrots with the barley, arugula and parsley. Drizzle with the spiced tahini and sprinkle with almonds. Try not to over-eat…


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was one of the best side dishes of the year of 2021 that showed up at our table. I do have a very special place in my heart for tahini, so maybe that explains my love for this recipe. You can cook the barley and roast the carrots in advance. In that case, just warm the carrots briefly in the microwave – I mean for 20 seconds tops – because it’s nice to have the contrast of warm carrots with the cold salad. If you are not too fond of arugula, spinach will work too, but there’s something about the slightly bitter nature of arugula that works well here.

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  1. I am not the greatest carrot lover in the world but do like this – the recipe to me is really exciting and it looks great ! Love the use of tahini and my favourite ras el hanout to take us to North Africa . . . and I like the use of nutty barley to give substance to the dish . Hope you keep an eye on the New York Times cookery pages for those of us who do not regularly access the tome . . . best . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think fennel – roasted fennel – would be a GREAT substitute for carrots. I love it but tend to use it very rarely because it’s always so expensive, and it seems to me one bulb gives a minimal amount of goodness… 😉 So carrots give me more substance for less money. But since you are not too fond of carrots, maybe fennel would be a great option for you…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks heaps – now I have two options ! I am by no means anti-carrots , , , but being born in a cold-weather country carrots, peas and beans were kind’of staples on the plate every day so the available choice here has pushed them into the background . . . but this looks very, very inviting !!!


  2. Hi Sally, this sure looks good and I am going to make it. We have a locally owned flour mill here in Redding, and they sell Plump Soup Barley. It is fat barley (the only way I can describe it) and it is so good. I love it in soups but have recently been using it in salads and am blown away by how good it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I first accessed this recipe from the NYT and have made it several times. It is so good. I have started using only 2 tbsp of Tahini as I find it too cloying when using the full amount. I used the full amount of juice from a medium lemon. I would rather cook the barley in less water and not have to drain it as It just seems a bit different drained.
    I think one time I did it with 2 1/2 cups of chicken broth and let it sit a bit when done and it was perfect. No draining. I would start the barley before turning on the oven, and turn on the oven part way through prepping the carrots.
    Tonight I was using home grown multicolour carrots and they took less than 20 min to cook in my steam oven at 400F. I added a bit of butternut squash as I was just a few ounces under on the 2 lbs of carrots.
    I also did not have the cilantro, ( well, technically I did, but it was in the garden, and it was raining) so I added onion greens and it was lovely.
    This is a great recipe, I served it with sous vide chicken breast slices on the side and it was perfect. Put a mix of Greek spices on on it before the sous vide. I ground the premade mix with a bit of added salt and sugar in the coffee grinder prior to seasoning the chicken breasts with it.
    TOpped the Chicken with some fresh thyme before sous vide. It was so good as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your feedback! and the cilantro existence versus non-existence made me laugh…. I’ve been there so many times!

      again thanks for your comment, I can see how your changes made the recipe even better!


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