If you love the combo of sweet, salty, sour and spicy (which forms classic Thai food), then try this salad. You can substitute quinoa for the barley if desired and for more heat, add more chili garlic sauce to the dressing. All the Thai ingredients can be found in large supermarkets or Asian grocery stores.

175 ml (3/4 cup) pearl barley
30 ml (2 tbsp.) each of lime juice and unseasoned rice vinegar
15 ml (1 tbsp.) hot Asian chili garlic sauce
7 ml (1 1/2 tsp.) each of fish sauce and granulated sugar
2 ml (1/2 tsp.) salt
30 ml (2 tbsp.) vegetable oil
2 locally grown peaches or nectarines
1 sweet red pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced
500 ml (2 cups) baby spinach or mesclun greens
250 ml (1 cup) bean sprouts
50 ml (1/4 cup) chopped fresh mint


1. In a medium saucepan, bring 625 ml (2 1/2 cups) lightly salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, rinse barley and then add to boiling water. Cover and simmer until tender but still slightly chewy, about 25 minutes.

2. Rinse and drain well under cold water. Then place in a large bowl.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together lime juice, vinegar, chili garlic sauce, fish sauce, sugar and salt until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in oil.

4. Cut peaches (only if serving right away) and red pepper into 2-cm (3/4-inch) pieces. Add to barley along with green onions, spinach, bean sprouts and mint. Drizzle with as much dressing as needed to coat. Toss to combine.

Makes 6 servings.