Rhody Recipe: Barley Salad with Lemon Gravy

This creative, savory holiday side teases the flavors of fall while bringing nutrition to the table


There’s only one rule on Thanksgiving: the day should feature all of
your favorites! If you’re looking to add a healthy side – and a pop of color – to the table this year or get creative with a nontraditional Friendsgiving soiree, look no further than this barley salad with lemony gravy, a perfect complement to the tastes of fall. With shiitake mushrooms, onions, and pomegranate, this nourishing dish lends bright and savory notes to the day’s onslaught of flavors.

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Barley Salad with Lemon Gravy


• 1½ cups barley

• 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

• 1 pound of shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

• 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped

• ¾ cup chopped walnuts

• 5 ounces baby spinach

• 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

• 1 tsp cinnamon

• ¼ tsp nutmeg

• 1 tsp cumin

• 1 tsp table salt, plus more to taste

• 3 Tbsp whole-wheat flour (or all purpose)

• 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

• 3-4 large lemons, yielding ⅓ cup lemon juice

• The arils of one pomegranate

• ¼ cup chopped parsley

• Zest of one lemon



1. Cook the barley according to the package instructions (make sure the water is salted). 

2. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Toss in the shiitake mushrooms and onions and saute for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped walnuts and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring more frequently to prevent the walnuts from burning.

3. Add the spinach, chickpeas, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, and salt. Stir while cooking until the spinach is wilted down.

4. Add the flour, and stir to coat everything before pouring in the broth.

5. Simmer over medium heat until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Once the sauce is thick, remove from the heat and pour in the lemon juice. At this point, you will want to taste the sauce and add more salt if desired.

6. Toss in the chopped parsley, zest of one lemon, and pomegranate arils, reserving a few.

7. Pour the lemon gravy and vegetable mixture over the barley. Mix it together well, then transfer it to a serving bowl. Garnish with parsley and remaining pomegranate arils and enjoy!


Sides to Go

While family tradition may dictate that some dishes must be prepared from scratch, take the pressure off by shopping fresh-prepared sides from your local small grocer for the rest. Here’s a handful of spots where a stroll down the aisle is as good as fresh from the oven.

Bubbie’s Market & Deli, Providence

Dave’s Fresh Marketplace

Edgewood Market, Cranston

Feast & Fettle Fridge, Pawtucket

Foodlove Market, Middletown

May’s Gluten Free Market, Riverside

The Pantry at Avenue N, Rumford

Sandy’s Fine Food Emporium, Westerly



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