It’s May and Victoria Day weekend is the unofficial start to grilling season across Canada. Let’s spruce up your recipe file to include some delicious barley dishes perfect for summer barbecuing. These recipes are excellent for the vegetarians and tasty side dishes for the beef, chicken and pork lovers, too!

Barley Greek Salad

Barbecue food can sometimes be a little heavy, so to lighten it up let’s bring a crisp, crunchy and refreshing Greek salad to the BBQ before the Victoria Day fireworks. The crisp cucumber, sweet pepper, red onion, plump tomatoes and olive oil make this salad a healthy side for any BBQ. The barley adds a nutty flavour as well as fibre and essential vitamins. An easy-to-make side, this Greek salad brings the anticipation of barbecue season and is scrumptious with either barbecued “beer can” chicken or grilled salmon.

Jane’s Meal Planning Tip
Make the salad at least three hours ahead and store in the refrigerator to allow the flavours to mingle.

Vegetable, Bean and Barley Stuffed Peppers

You know I wouldn’t suggest your grandma’s same old boring stuffed pepper recipe for your first BBQ party of the season! This recipe is an exciting spin on regular stuffed peppers and a BBQ addition that is more creative than the typical pepper skewers side dish. I love the combination of the ground cumin, chili powder and Italian seasoning along with the chopped cremini mushrooms, barley and black beans in this dish. In my January blog post, we discussed how barley and pulses, including black beans, are excellent high-quality plant-based foods and great everyday additions to your meals. Enjoy these nutritious and delicious stuffed peppers with tangy pulled pork or a smoky brisket.

Jane’s Meal Planning Tip
Barbecue these stuffed peppers on foil over moderate heat for 15–20 minutes, gently turning each one until the peppers are evenly browned, then top with cheese.

Mushroom Barley Burgers

Update the classic backyard barbecue fare with this not-so-standard mushroom barley burger. I like to finish the burgers off on the BBQ to add a smoky flavour and the grill marks. My favourite garnishes are sautéed red onions, blue cheese and grilled peaches—when in season. At the BBQ, set up a garnish bar for your guests to add to flavourful toppings to the grilled mains. Include the usual suspects, tomato, lettuce, pickles and plus a variety of gourmet cheeses, guacamole, baby spinach, grilled pineapple and tzatziki sauce.

Jane’s Meal Planning Tip
Remember to set aside 45 minutes to cook the barley or use some from a previously made batch.

Final Thought
I’ve rounded up three tasty GoBarley recipes to refresh your favourites for the first cookout of the season. All you need to do now is to pull out the grill and get cooking!