Italian-style Broccoli Bean Salad with Barley

Must Try Recipes

Food waste is a bigger problem than we can imagine. Discarded food rots and produces greenhouse gases. In other words, throwing away food contributes to climate change.

A golden rule to combat food waste is to use all the ingredients and foods, even in leftover dishes from dinner, which can be easily integrated into new food combinations for a delicious lunch at the office.

For this recipe, I did a short check of the refrigerator and pantry, so I chose to bring to life some foods—the outcome? A delicious salad with broccoli, beans, and barley.

Nutrients in this recipe

Barley is an essential source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, to a greater extent than oats or wild rice. Many studies have shown that one of the components of barley – beta-glucan, is a soluble fiber that is thought to have beneficial effects on blood cholesterol levels. Fiber helps prevent intestinal disorders and feeds the so-called “healthy bacteria” inside gout.

Broccoli – if you want to give your body plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, then choose to eat broccoli constantly. In addition to being an essential source of nutrients necessary for iron health, experts say that this green vegetable has several proven therapeutic properties.

I know many people who can’t eat broccoli. However, I still think they stopped at a simple bunch boiled with olive oil and salt. For this reason, they will keep their repulsion towards this superfood despite all the possibilities of preparation and the many benefits it offers. Still, I have a whole list of recipes, including this one.

Pinto Beans – you can tell by the tiny spots, usually reddish-brown, all over the grain. After boiling, these spots disappear, the grains acquiring a pinkish hue. It is a bean low in fat and rich in protein and fiber. Originally from Mexico, it has a more pungent taste, being used primarily in spicy food. A cup of boiled beans contains up to 15 grams of fiber, about 60% of the recommended daily dose.

I have used canned Pinto beans for this recipe, but you can also use the regular dry one. If you choose to use the dry beans, soak them overnight. Boil the beans in plenty of water for at least 1 hour. If the water drops, add hot water. Do not add salt while the beans are boiling!

Italian-style Broccoli Bean Salad with Barley

Necessary equipment:

  • a large stockpot
  • a medium stockpot
  • a strainer
  • a medium skillet
  • a slotted spoon


4 servings

  • 2 cups of barley grains
  • 2 1/2 cups of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt
  • 2 cups of broccoli florets
  • 2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup canned pinto beans
  • 2 cups Iceberg lettuce
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of raw pumpkin seeds


  1. Rinse barley grains under cold water and drain them well.
  2. Pour 1 1/2 cup of water into a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Add the barley grains and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes. When the barley has cooked, drain and set it aside.
  3. Fill a medium stockpot with water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, cut the broccoli florets, then chop them so that they are as small as a sip. Rinse well under running cold water.
  4. Cut the stem in half, then slice them thinly. Then, when water starts to boil, use a slotted spoon to lower the broccoli into the water.
  5. Let it cook for about 3-4 minutes or until it softens – you should be able to easily insert the tip of a knife into the broccoli florets.
  6. Drain over the sink with a strainer, then let the steam out for about a minute.
  7. Add the olive oil to a skillet over medium heat.
  8. Add in the broccoli and all the seasonings. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes.
  9. Drain beans and rinse them well under cold water.
  10. Use a very sharp knife to shred lettuce in long pieces about 0.12 inches.
  11. Finely chop the carrot.
  12. Add the cooked barley and broccoli, beans, shredded lettuce, and chopped carrot in a large bowl.
  13. Drizzle everything with some lemon juice and top with pumpkin seeds.

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