At the local farmer’s market last weekend, I loaded up my bags with a ridiculous amount of produce.  Peaches and berries and peppers and onions and greens and melons and lots and lots of corn.  Really, I completely lost control.

I have a particular reverence, bordering on awe, of the farmers who are able to produce such bounty, and thus have a need to support them with my hard earned cash.  You see, as I happen to be an eternal optimist, I earnestly devote a small plot of the back yard to growing a vegetable garden every year.  And in every case (this is, ahem, attempt number 12 or so in house number 4) the local wildlife seem to put out some sort of all-points bulletin about the buffet growing in the back garden of House Morell and descend upon the space with gusto.  The birds helped themselves to all the blueberries, the deer lopped off the tops of the tomatoes and sunflowers, and the bunnies and squirrels seem to be nibbling on everything but the herbs.  Thus far I have produced exactly three rather tiny (but delicious) cherry tomatoes, four green beans, one yellow banana pepper and one jalapeno.  My family would starve if I had to produce their food.  Thank God for farmers and their markets…


…And this gorgeous corn.

I was looking for a fun recipe to highlight this corn, and decided to riff on a recipe I tore out of Food and Wine last year with some of my favorite elements.  Obviously, I always love an amazing salad, especially during the summer, when you want to keep meal prep super easy.


I love to add the substance of a grain to a salad… in the case, barley played a starring role.  Chuck full of nutrients, barley has a chewy, almost pasta-like consistency.  Toasted walnuts add a warm, nutty taste and a nice bit of crunch.  I then tossed in a couple handfuls of slivered basil and chopped chives, and a generous portion of crumbled feta cheese.  Goat cheese would also work with this combo, if you prefer. The flavors blended wonderfully, particularly when I tossed in a bit of lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil as a dressing.  So simple…

corn and barley salad 7

I can’t stop eating this stuff.  It was absolutely delicious as a lunch side salad to BLTs, but it could also easily be a main dish salad for lunch or dinner.

I’m headed back out to my garden now.  I need to harvest some mint before it takes over the entire plot.  This may call for some mojitos.  It’s not exactly helping to feed the family, but it does prove the effort is not all for naught.

One year ago: Blackberry Mojitos

Two years ago: A Warm Jam of Blueberries and Cherries

Corn and Barley Salad with Walnuts, Feta Cheese, and Basil
Adapted from a recipe found in Food and Wine, August 2015
Serves: 8-10 as a side
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • ¾ cup walnuts
  • 3 cups cooked corn kernels (from about 4 ears)
  • ¼ cup chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons cup snipped chives
  • ½ cup feta cheese (goat cheese would work well here as well)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a medium saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the barley until just tender, about 25 minutes.
  3. Drain well and set out on a plate to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast for about 12 minutes, until golden.
  5. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
  6. In a bowl, toss the barley with the corn, walnuts, and all the remaining ingredients.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
  8. Serve it at room temperature.

This is such a delicious salad I thought I should share it with my friends on Fiesta Friday!

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18 Responses to "Corn and Barley Salad with Walnuts, Feta Cheese, and Basil"
  1. Hilda says:

    Beautiful salad! I’m glad you are supporting your local growers, and yes, they do deserve a lot of respect. But don’t give up on your garden either – it’s just a question of finding what grows well in your particular spot.

    • mb says:

      I did get another handful of gorgeous little yellow tomatoes from my garden yesterday, so there is hope – thanks so much for the encouragement, Hilda!

  2. Michelle says:

    When we first moved to the country, we tried and tried. A friend said, “oh you’ll soon figure out that you shouldn’t bother because there’s some farmer up the road who does it so much better.” Indeed. But it’s fun trying, isn’t it? Even if a tomato ends up costing $60. Lovely salad!

    • mb says:

      It IS so true… I do love my very expensive little tomatoes, because they’re mine 🙂

  3. Wow, this salad is summer perfect MB! I love to support all the local farms too, so I’ll be heading there asap to get some more fresh Jersey corn so I can get this recipe on the menu! I’m loving the addition of the walnuts and feta. Thanks for sharing!

  4. JoAnne Kuehnee says:

    Can’t wait to try this salad

  5. Mimi says:

    I LOVE this salad! So glad you used barley. I get tired of the more trendy grains, like farro and quinoa. Barley is fabulous! Great ingredients.

    • mb says:

      I’m a huge fan of barley – it’s so mild and pasta-like 🙂 So glad you love it, Mimi!

  6. Michelle says:

    This salad looks Devine! I am lucky that we have lazy deer in our neighborhood. They choose to skip jumping the 6′ fence and only eat from the front yard! lol.

  7. Ruth says:

    This looks marvelous! My CSA has kept me in full supply of corn so this would be a delicious side one evening. Plus, feta and fresh herbs make the world go round 😉

    • mb says:

      Oh Ruth, I love the idea of a CSA, but we travel too much during the summer… and I agree – feta and fresh herbs do make the world go round!

  8. Julianna says:

    What a lovely salad – ready for all the summer barbecues and picnics! Up my alley for sure!

  9. Judi Graber says:

    I don’t think anyone can go home from a Farmer’s Market without purchasing lots of produce. Everything looks so fresh, pretty and delicious of course. Thanks for sharing with Fiesta Friday and don’t forget to link to the party 🙂

  10. Indira MC says:

    That looks awesome! I’m always looking for more side dish recipes that can also easily work as a salad as well. I love the ingredients, especially the barley. Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Natalie says:

    I always tend to go a little overboard when I get to the Farmers Market, too. It’s just so exciting to see all the fresh produce, especially this time of year. I love this salad. It looks delicious and I love all the different textures and flavours.

  12. Caroline says:

    Looks like a tasty salad- I also love all the things at the market right now, and we’re big into corn too!

  13. Petra says:

    Barley is a lovely grain! And anything with feta cheese will always catch my eye! A delicious and summery salad. Thank you for bringing it to Fiesta Friday! 🙂 Have a great week.

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