Turkish barley & lentil salad with tahini dressing

Turkish barley & lentil salad with tahini dressing

6 as a side dish, 4 as a main course
30 mins
Cooking time
30 mins
Deidre Rooney

Barley, lentils and carrots may seem plain but this is a great dish in its own right, so consider serving it as a main course as well as a side dish. No meat is required – a bowl of Greek-style yoghurt is all you really need to go with it.

From the grocer


Quantity Ingredient
75g pearl barley
80ml olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 teaspoons dried cumin
100g puy lentils
2 tablespoons tomato passata
2 teaspoons soft light brown sugar
275ml vegetable stock or water
salt and freshly ground black pepper
105ml extra-virgin olive oil
150g plain yoghurt
150g tahini

From the greengrocer

Quantity Ingredient
1 onion, roughly chopped
8 garlic cloves
6 large carrots, sliced into rounds about 4 mm thick
3 lemons, juiced
2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
75g rocket leaves


  1. Put the barley into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cook until tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and sauté the onion until soft and golden. Finely chop 4 of the garlic cloves, add to the pan and cook for 2 minutes – don’t let the garlic brown. Add the chilli flakes and cumin and cook for a further 2 minutes. Tip in the lentils, carrots, tomato passata, sugar and stock or water, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a briskish simmer and cook until the carrots are soft and the lentils tender but not falling apart. The liquid should have been completely absorbed in that time but if you find it gets too dry add a little more.
  3. In a large bowl, gently combine the lentil mixture with the barley, adding the juice of 1 lemon, 60 ml of the extra-virgin olive oil and the parsley. Taste for seasoning.
  4. To make the dressing, beat the yoghurt into the tahini and add the remaining lemon juice, the remaining extra-virgin olive oil, the remaining garlic (crushed) and 80 ml water. Taste and season – it needs quite a lot of salt. You might also want to add a little more water or olive oil to thin the mixture.
  5. Toss the rocket through the barley and lentil mixture and drizzle with some of the tahini dressing, serving the rest on the side.
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