Mediterranean barley salad

PUNGENT: Mediterranean barley salad includes capers. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

Total time: 1 hour and 10 minutes plus chilling time for the salad

Servings: 6 to 8

Note: Adapted from "The Hip Chick's Guide to Macrobiotics" by Jessica Porter. Umeboshi (plum) vinegar can be found at Whole Foods and Asian markets.

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Pinch plus 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar plus 1 tablespoon umeboshi vinegar

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1/4 cup olive oil

5 cups water

2 cups pearl or hulled barley

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried and crumbled

1/3 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives

1/3 cup drained capers

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

1. To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, mustard, pinch sea salt, vinegar, shallot and olive oil in a medium bowl and set aside.

2. To prepare the salad, bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the barley with the remaining salt and bay leaves. Simmer until the barley is tender and all of the water is absorbed, 45 minutes to 1 hour total cooking time. Remove from heat and cool.

3. Place the barley in a large bowl, and stir in the dressing and oregano. Cover and chill for about 2 hours or until ready to serve. Before serving, gently stir in the olives, capers, pine nuts and green onions.

Each of 8 servings: 311 calories; 6 grams protein; 42 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams fiber; 14 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 cholesterol; 561 mg. sodium.