Brother Hubbard pearl barley tabbouleh

Brother Hubbard’s Pearl barley tabbouleh

Brother Hubbard is a Dublin institution founded by Garrett Fitzgerald, we love their recipes, so much so we’re sharing this one for their pearl barley tabbouleh.

Garrett says: This is a modern take on a classic Middle Eastern dish using an unsung, underused and underrated hero in the ingredients world: pearl barley. It’s an amazing addition to this salad, as it has the most wonderful texture. The other great thing about pearl barley is that it’s grown here in Ireland and has a long-standing place in traditional Irish cooking. It works incredibly well as a carby addition to soups and broths alike. I should say that this is inspired by the classic tabbouleh rather than strictly adhering to that version. A proper tabbouleh is a very herby experience, so please do be extremely generous with your herbs here.

Serves 4 (as a substantial salad)

You will need:

250g pearl barley

50–100g fresh parsley

25g fresh dill

25g fresh mint

4 ripe plum tomatoes, diced

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

20–30ml extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp allspice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch of spring onions, cut into thin slices at an angle

50g sunflower seeds, toasted

Pomegranate, seeds only


  1. To cook the pearl barley, rinse it under cold running water and drain.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to the boil with a drizzle of oil and a pinch of salt, then add the pearl barley. Cook until it’s soft but still retains some bite. This should take 20–35 minutes, depending on the barley.
  3. Drain and cool in a colander under some cold running water, then drain well again.
  4. Finely chop the stalks of the parsley and dill. Remove the leaves from the stalks of mint and finely slice them along with the parsley leaves and dill fronds.
  5. Place the diced tomatoes in a bowl and sprinkle in the lemon zest and juice, olive oil and spices, then add the pearl barley, herbs and spring onions.
  6. Give the salad a good mix, then add the toasted sunflower seeds. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt, pepper or lemon as needed.
  7. Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds to serve.

Tips & Tricks

  • A tablespoon of pomegranate molasses would be a worthwhile addition to the dressing. Just add it when you mix the spices, oil and lemon together.
  • If you prefer to lean more towards the classic version of tabbouleh, replace the pearl barley with bulghur wheat, perhaps using half the dry weight of the wheat barley. Couscous would also work here.
  • To add more of a fresh crunch, some thinly sliced red onion, fennel or celery would bulk up this salad – deliciously so!

The Brother Hubbard Cookbook


Taken from The Brother Hubbard Cookbook by Garrett Fitzgerald (Gill Books)