This dish is so hearty and cozy, and best part… easy! I had to share it. For our dinner with Cook Pigs Ranch (see it here) we wanted to serve dishes that played on what the pigs eat at this ranch so we were staying true to their diet for our ingredients. However, this is a base that you can play around with, add some persimmons or pomegranates for color and juiciness or sub in cilantro instead of basil, that kind of thing.
This is great to make ahead and keep in the refrigerator for packed lunches. It’s really filling so this and a salad (and ok, some pork loin) can be a lovely, nutritious meal.
BARLEY “PIG FOOD” SALAD
As a side for 6-8 people
4 cups cooked barley, farro or Israeli Cous Cous
2 cups toasted macadamia nuts
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 bunches fresh basil leaves sliced, about 2 cups
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
*optional* 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 lb soft greens such as arugula, spinach, mache or endive frisee
salt and pepper to taste
MACADAMIA NUT PESTO:
• in a blender or mortar and pestle, crush and blend garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and 1 pinch salt and pepper until smooth.
• add basil, parmesan cheese (if using), and half of the macadamia nuts, then pulse until nuts are just coarse and the mix moves freely within the vessel. Add a little olive oil if the mix gets stuck.
FOR THE SALAD:
• just before serving, use a large mixing bowl to toss the cooked grains with the salad greens to fully incorporate. Then season with salt and pepper to taste.
• pour pesto dressing over the grains mixture and toss to combine.
• transfer salad to a serving bowl and chop the remaining macadamia nuts to use as garnish
• if making ahead, wrap well and just before serving, lightly toss with some lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil to refresh.