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Toasted Barley, Green Bean, and Shiitake Salad with Tofu

Photo: John Autry; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine
Yield 6 servings (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)
Toasting the barley before it boils brings out nutty flavor. Pressing and draining tofu helps it take on flavors more readily and improves its cooked texture.


  • Tofu:
  • 1 (12-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 5 (1-inch-thick) slices
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • Cooking spray
  • Salad:
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil, divided
  • 1 cup uncooked pearl barley
  • 5 cups water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 10 ounce large shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Nutrition Information

  • calories 304
  • fat 9.7 g
  • satfat 1.5 g
  • monofat 3.2 g
  • polyfat 4.7 g
  • protein 13.1 g
  • carbohydrate 44.4 g
  • fiber 9.6 g
  • cholesterol 0.0 mg
  • iron 4.1 mg
  • sodium 628 mg
  • calcium 123 mg

How to Make It

  1. To prepare tofu, place tofu slices on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Top with a cutting board; place a heavy skillet on top of cutting board. Let stand 45 minutes, pressing down occasionally. Cut each tofu slice into 10 cubes; arrange in a single layer in a shallow dish.

  2. Preheat oven to 375°.

  3. Combine brown sugar and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl. Pour sugar mixture over tofu in dish, and turn to coat. Let stand for 25 minutes. Arrange tofu in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes, turning after 15 minutes. Cool completely.

  4. To prepare salad, heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add barley to pan; cook 3 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring frequently. Add 5 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until barley is tender. Drain; cool completely. Place barley in a large bowl.

  5. Cook green beans in boiling water for 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and plunge green beans into ice water. Drain well; pat dry. Add beans to barley.

  6. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush tops of mushrooms with 2 teaspoons oil. Add mushrooms to pan, oiled side down. Cook 5 minutes or until browned. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cool slightly; slice mushrooms thinly. Add tofu, mushrooms, and green onions to barley mixture.

  7. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon oil, rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, agave nectar or honey, grated ginger, and minced garlic in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over barley mixture in bowl; stir well to combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled.