the taste space

Moroccan Barley and Pea Shoot Salad

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian), Salads by janet @ the taste space on April 1, 2011

I can do mad damage if I am in the right store.

Not a clothing store, not an electronic store, not even a bicycle store…. Food-related? Yuppers!

Penzeys, yup.

Teavana, indeed.

Kalustyan’s, oh yes.

Sometimes it isn’t as bad for local stores, since I tell myself I can always go back next week. That’s my inner monologue trying to talk some sense into me. Sometimes it works. Other times not.

Last week, I went to T&T. I hadn’t been in a while, since it isn’t close by and I am not (currently) biking (snow! grr!).
Watercress, 2 bunches for 88 cents. That was the plan. Maybe some mushrooms.

I came back with watercress, shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms (love them! on sale!), snow peas (love them!), soy milk (new kind to try!), mango nectar (I have plans!) and a new, mystery ingredient: pea shoots or dou miao (unlike Chinatown, T&T actually labels its produce, hehe).

They were so fresh, and even though I had never heard of them, I figured a new green in my life couldn’t hurt.

In fact, I think the pea shoots were a wonderful discovery: my new favourite green. They are sweet, just like baby spinach (it has been usurped as my previous favourite green), with a hint of sweet pea taste. The leaves/tendrils are soft and silky yet the crunch comes from the stalks. I love that body. A welcome taste of spring amongst this never-ending winter. (Aside, before spring pea season comes pea shoot season!!)

I tossed the pea shoots into this Moroccan Barley Salad, inspired from the Moroccan Barley-Spinach Toss in Radiant Health, Inner Wealth (Tess has posted a version with quinoa here).  In my version, barley is toasted, then cooked and mixed with a light, fresh dressing made of fresh orange and lime juices, cinnamon, cumin and green onions. I also topped it with sprouted buckwheat. The barley salad is cinnamon-heavy with a lightness brought from the citrus juices. It isn’t that sweet with the agave because I used currants (not raisins). The sweetness comes from your greens.  In my case, pea shoots! For leftovers (not photographed, sorry!), I added even more pea shoots, so this was more of a pea shoots and barley salad, and I was in heaven.

Pea shoots, as it turns out, are the young leaves from the sprouting pea plant. The early shoots and tendrils can be harvested numerous times (it will eventually become bitter as it ages) until the plant produces peas. While they are uber pricey at places like Toronto Sprouts at the St Lawrence Market (over $4 for 125g), I thought they were reasonably priced at T&T ($11/kg or $2 for a large container).

However, it would be even cheaper to grow your own (I hope! In my garden to be!) and I picked up some dried green peas from Rube’s Rice ($0.95/lb) to see if I could grow them at home (I am really encouraged by Shauna’s post!).

In short, scour your Asian grocery stores for this delicacy! Or grow it yourself!

This is being submitted to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Susan from The Well-Seasoned Cook.

Moroccan Barley and Pea Shoot Salad

1 cup pearl barley, toasted
1 tsp grated orange zest
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
4 tsp lime juice
2 tbsp agave nectar (or maple syrup)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp minced green onion
1/2 cup dried currants (or raisins)
1/4 cup sprouted buckwheat (optional)
6 cups pea shoots, roughly chopped (250g or more) (or your favourite green, like baby spinach, sliced into slivers)

1. Toast barley in a dry skillet until fragrant.

2. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil and add in barley with a dash of salt.  Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat.  Cover the pan and simmer for forty five minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the pearly barley is tender and ready to eat.

3. Meanwhile, combine the orange zest and juice, lime juice, agave nectar, cinnamon, cumin, and green onions.

4. When the barley is ready, fluff the barley and toss with the dressing and currants. When ready to serve, mix pea shoots with barley mixture and top with sprouted buckwheat.

Serves 4-6.

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12 Responses

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  1. Cathy@ What Would Cathy Eat? said, on April 1, 2011 at 7:56 AM

    Very inventive salad. Thanks for posting!

  2. megi said, on April 1, 2011 at 8:37 AM

    What a fresh looking plate! I love the combination of greens, orange zest and the spices! I am bookmarking this recipe to try it soon…

  3. Priya said, on April 1, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    Wat an interesting and filling salad..

  4. Joanne said, on April 1, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    I love that you said “mad damage”. Adorable.

    I can’t be controlled in supermarkets either…it’s dangerous. Even our local supermarket, which is TERRIBLE, holds some kind of strange power over me. It’s odd.

    I’ve never had pea shoots but with the cinnamon and citrus mix, I”m sure I would adore this salad!

  5. Susan said, on April 1, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    This salad is so creative and it’s got great texture. I saw pea shoots recently, but didn’t pick them up. Went back the following week: gone. I can kick myself. I see by this great recipe what I’m missing.

    Thanks, Janet, for your WHB contribution!

  6. Simona said, on April 5, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    What a beautiful salad! I am like you in terms of mad damage. I am dangerous in a bookstore too.

  7. Cara said, on April 7, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    Pea shoots – another one of those things I never seem to get my hands on! This salad sounds incredible, I love the use of citrus and cinnamon together.

  8. […] you know what, Swiss chard never goes on sale (neither do pea shoots, and what a treat it was to discover those!). I get side-tracked when baby spinach is less than $4/lb, or wooed when red peppers are under […]

  9. Ashley said, on May 16, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    I didn’t know you were into teas. There are lots of tea stores in Vancouver to check out. ;) Growing peas would be so fun!! I don’t know why I never thought of it. Peas are one of my favourite vegetables and foods. I recently tried pea tips from T&T too – I put them in pho. I liked them but still prefer pea tips. I love barley in salads so this sounds lovely. And I totally know what you mean about being able to spend tons of money in grocery stores… right there with you!

    • Saveur said, on May 16, 2011 at 7:36 PM

      Oh yes, I love teas… Tea shops leave me weak in the knees. :)

  10. […] of my friends, knowing my love of healthy food, specifically with my pea shoot infatuation, gifted me with some radish […]

  11. […] with Tamarind – Tamarind Chutney – Saag “Paneer” – Thai Tropical Fruit and Tofu Salad – Moroccan Barley and Pea Shoot Salad – Black Bean, Cilantro and Apricot Salad – Spinach, Orange, and Toasted Almond Salad with a […]


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