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Photo: © Hallie Burton Photo by: Photo: © Hallie Burton

Barley-and-Spinach Salad with Tofu Dressing

The Good News: This salad is incredibly satisfying, thanks to the fiber-rich barley Lee Anne Wong tosses with spinach and mushrooms. Crumbled firm tofu in the sherry vinegar dressing adds extra protein.

Food & Wine JUNE 2009

  • Yield: 6


  • 1 cup pearl barley (7 1/2 ounces)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered (4 cups)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 7 ounces baby spinach (8 cups)
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, torn
  • 3 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 7 ounces firm tofu, drained and crumbled


In a medium saucepan, combine the barley, stock, thyme and half of the garlic. Add a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the barley is tender, 25 minutes. Discard the thyme. Drain the barley and transfer to a large bowl; cover and keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring, until lightly browned, 5 minutes. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 minutes longer. Scrape the mushrooms into the barley and toss. Add the spinach, basil and mint, but do not stir.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Add the remaining garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Cook until slightly thickened, 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook until heated through. Stir in the tofu and season with salt and pepper. Scrape the dressing over the salad and toss. Serve warm.