Pearl Barley Salad with Harissa-Spiced Chicken


Harissa is a new spice combination for me. I’m not sure what’s taken so long to come to the party other than that it’s not been right under my nose in a shop when I’ve been looking and I’ve not hit upon a recipe until now that’s demanded I use it. Consider me and Mr G converts after making this salad from What Katie Ate by Katie Quinn Davies as part of this month’s The Cookbook Guru.

The salad mix to carry this spiced chicken is lovely and cooling. I used rice instead of barley to suit our tastes and I believe it still worked well although I’d be keen to try a batch with quinoa which Quinn Davies recommends as an alternative.

Unfortunately I have two minor criticisms with this recipe: one being the quantities in that we ended up with an enormous amount of salad for two. I’m putting it down to my head of broccoli being rather large and my choice to use a second chicken breast as this was used as a main course.  It’s not a major criticism really as the salad is equally as good the next day cold and would even work well cooked into some eggs to make a frittata for breakfast.

The second was the amount of prep work in making this mix. Each ingredient requires some work which may be a bit overwhelming for some cooks. Much of it could be prepared in advance though if you’re organised or wanting to make this salad quickly when entertaining.

In spite of these things I’m happy to declare this salad as another winner from What Katie Ate and will be one we make again to have on our summer salad rotation.

This book is book of the month as part of the online book club, The Cookbook Guru. Jump over to the blog to check out this and other books our group of food bloggers have cooked from.

Pearl Barley Salad w. Harissa-Spiced Chicken

from What Katie Ate: Recipes and Other Bits and Bobs by Katie Quinn Davies

serves 2 as a main meal or 4 as a side dish

  • 200g chicken breast cut into strips
  • 1/4 flaked almonds
  • 1 cup pearl barley/quinoa/rice
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbl sp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into bite sized florets
  • 1 zucchini, trimmed and cut into lengthways into 1/2cm strips
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 green capsicum, trimmed, seeded and finely diced
  • large handful rocket leaves, finely chopped

marinade for the chicken

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp harissa paste
  • 1 tbl sp olive oil
  • pinch sea salt

Combine the marinade and coat the chicken. Allow the meat to rest for minimum of 30 minutes.

Meanwhile toast your almonds until golden brown and put to the side. I did this in a hot pan which I then used to grill the zucchini by slicing into 1/2cm width slices and grill in some olive oil until golden brown. Once cooked, remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Prepare your rice, quinoa or barley as you would generally cook it.  I like the absorption method for rice and quinoa but everyone has their own preference.   Once cooked allow to cool slightly.  In a small bowl or cup, combine the juice of one lemon, 1 tbl spoon of olive oil and salt and pepper.  Drizzle over the grains and stir through to coat. Set aside to cool completely.

To prepare the broccoli, cut into small florets and blanch in hot water before plunging into ice water to stop the cooking process.  Drain once cold and set aside.

Finally to finish preparing the chicken before completing the salad, preheat a large fry pan over a medium heat.  Cook the chicken in the pan including all the marinade until it begins to caramelise at the edges.  This will take approx 10-12 minutes.  Remove the chicken and allow to rest for approx 5 minutes before slicing each strip thinly.

Finally combine all of your ingredients in a bowl and then serve whilst the chicken is still warm.

Shared With Love,


7 Comments Add yours

  1. ladyredspecs says:

    You like button is turned off, so I’ll have to say I like the sound of this..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leah says:

      Mmm…weird, but I’ll look at it. Struggled to weblog your post from the app cos the button was missing too. The salad was actually very nice. 🙂


  2. marymtf says:

    Definitely worth the extra work.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. marymtf says:

    Master G looks delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Leah I too just discovered Harissa in tubes – my next aim is to make my own Harissa paste as it seems pretty straightforward….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leah says:

      I haven’t gotten that far, yet. Feel like I need to become more familiar with using it first but so far, so good. Do you have any recipes you’d recommend with the harissa?


  5. Hi Leah, Ditto – I like this post. ⭐️ The combination of cooling salad and the spicy harissa sounds a winner.

    Liked by 1 person

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