This week, before school was actually in session (which would mean back to work for me), I went back to work to take a course. What? A week early of sitting and learning, packing lunches and taking tests?
It's kind of hard to go back early. One thing that makes the day a lot better is a really good lunch, and while I made this for dinner one day this week there was enough leftovers that it became lunch as well. I think teenagers and even older kids would probably really like this for lunch. I also packed some yogurt, an apple, and some cheese with crackers and it was really quite satisfying. If you want to add some protein, sauteed garlic shrimp or grilled chicken is a nice touch as well.
A tip about the corn: a good way to cut the kernels off without them flying everywhere is to place your cutting board inside a rimmed baking sheet. Then hold the cob at one end, balance the other on the cutting board, and slice downward. The kernels should be contained somewhat by the baking sheet. A bundt pan works well too, but I don't have one and the baking sheet worked just fine.
1/2 cup pearl or pot barley
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 ears fresh corn, with the kernels cut off
1 cup black beans (about half of a 19 oz can), drained and rinsed
1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 ripe mango, peeled and diced
1/4 purple onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro or flat leaf parsley
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp liquid honey
garlic clove (grated or minced)
Measure out the barley into a dry medium sized pot. Over medium heat, toast the barley a little. It should become golden and you'll be able to smell it. Don't leave the stove or ignore it, because the barley can go from toasted to burned pretty quickly. Just stir it around and watch it. When you can smell it and it's all warm and toasted, add the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then put the lid on and turn the heat down to low. Cook for about 40 minutes. The broth will absorb and the barley will be plump and cooked. Cool to room temperature.
In a heavy saucepan, saute the corn in a bit of oil until golden and cooked. Cool.
In a large bowl, toss together the beans, cooled sauteed corn, bell pepper, tomato, mango, onion, and cilantro. Toss with the barley.
Whisk together the dressing ingredients until they are well mixed and pour about half the dressing over top of that salad. Toss, then add the avocado and add more dressing to taste if you feel the salad needs it, as well as salt and pepper. I didn't use all the dressing. Store the leftover in a Mason jar with a lid in the fridge
Serve the salad immediately.
Makes 4-6 servings
Adapted from Spilling the Beans