Summer Zucchini "Pasta" Salad

 

The beauty of this salad is in the contrast of its textures: hearty chick peas, earthy barley, smooth zucchini, crumbly feta. It's a union of so many vivid garden-inspired colors and flavors, folded into the lightest yet most luxurious lemon vinaigrette.

The zucchini is spiralized, salted and left to sit while the rest of the salad is prepared. During that twenty minutes or so, the salt draws out moisture to keep your salad crisp and colorful (and, not to mention, more flavorful).

Treat as an outdoor picnic side or a salad nest for grilled salmon or chicken.

Serves 4

2 medium zucchini
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1/3 cup barley
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons fresh basil, torn
2 tablespoons feta cheese
Freshly ground pepper

1. Trim the ends of the zucchini, spiralize into spaghetti-like noodles, and place in a colander in the sink. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and massage lightly to evenly disperse. Let sit for 20 or so minutes (or as long as it takes to prepare the rest of the salad).

2. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add barley and, stirring occasionally, cook until pleasantly chewy, about 15-20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar and remaining salt. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, barley and half of the dressing. If the barley is still very hot, let the mixture sit until just warm, stirring occasionally.

5. Squeeze the zucchini to rid any excess moisture and add to the bowl, along with the remaining dressing and basil. Stir and transfer to a serving bowl. Crumble the feta over the top, add a few basil leaves, and serve at room temperature (or refrigerate for a few hours beforehand).