Barley Edamame Salad (Monk Salad)

This recipe is actually my mother's - inspired by her yearly retreats to the Abbey of Gethsemani near Bardstown, Kentucky. The Trappist monks are for the most part vegetarian, and one trip a number of summers ago, they served a rendition of this salad that my mom then recreated at home. It makes a lovely addition to a larger picnic spread or as a light lunch on it's own. 

If you're ever in the area (it's right off the Bourbon Trail), it's worth making a detour. I haven't been on a retreat myself, but I have stopped to partake in one of the Hours (prayer) and witness it's magic first hand. 

Barley Edamame Salad (Monk Salad)

Serves 6-8

1/3 cup red onion, finely diced
3 Tbs. rice vinegar
1 cup pearled barley
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 cup frozen edamame, thawed
3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1/2-1 tsp. sea salt
8-10 grinds black pepper
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
Juice from 1/2 a lemon

Mix red onion and rice vinegar in a large bowl. Let sit while you cook the barley. 

Combine barley and 2 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Add a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Keep an eye out as barley tends to foam at first causing the pot to bubble over if you're not watching! Reduce heat and let simmer on low, covered, until just tender and still chewy. I start checking it at 25 minutes. If the pan becomes dry, just add a bit more water. When finished cooking, drain barley to remove any excess liquid (if necessary).  

Add still warm barley to bowl with the marinated red onion. Toss well and let cool to room temperature. 

Once barley has cooled, add remaining ingredients and combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed (more salt, pepper, acid, etc). I like to let the flavors meld for a few hours in the fridge before serving.

Serve this salad slightly chilled or room temperature. It will keep for several days in the refrigerator.