Mediterranean Barley with Eggplant, Tomatoes and Mint

Serves 6


1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/4 cups pearl barley (8 oz)
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups water
1 pound eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and quartered
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or Italian parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint or basil

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the barley, stir to coat with oil and cook 2 minutes more.  Add the water and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, about 35 minutes.  Cool.
  2. Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the cumin and coriander seeds and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggplant, several twists of black pepper and salt and sauté until soft. Cool.
  3. Combine the red onion, sugar, pinch of salt and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl and let stand 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, olives, eggplant, barley, herbs and olive oil as needed.  Adjust salt and pepper.
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