Pear + Cucumber Salad with Tuna Croutons

It’s a Wednesday night, I’ve invited my husband to the terrace for a summer meal and a chance to actually look each other in the eye and talk after an already busy week.

The weekend was filled with indulgences like Jalapeno Poppers, berry pies and clams doused in oil and bread crumbs.

Although these tasty memories still bring a smile to my face, it was time to lighten things up.

 When I’m looking to have a light meal, the key is to not make it feel like it’s a light meal.

I want big flavors, textures and nice big plate food; that’s exactly what this salad brings to the table.

Once you bite into the crunchy pears and cucumbers alongside the chewy barley that is swimming around in a simple Asian dressing, you will understand that light food can be downright delicious food. Top this all off with soft and tender tuna and you will have a whole new appreciation for eating healthy.

Pear + Cucumber Salad with Tuna Croutons

Serves 2

Ginger dressing

¼ cup vegetable oil or peanut oil

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 ½ teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 small garlic clove, grated

½ teaspoon grated ginger

Pear + Cucumber Salad with Tuna Croutons

1 English cucumber, finely chopped

1 red Anjou pear, finely chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup hulled barley, uncooked

3 tablespoons white sesame seeds

3 tablespoons black sesame seeds

8 ounces tuna steak, cut into 1” pieces

1 tablespoon vegetable oil/peanut oil

Ginger Dressing

  1. Combine all ingredients on a medium bowl and whisk until creamy and well combined.

Pear + Cucumber Salad with Tuna Croutons

  1. In a medium saucepan combine 2 ½ cups water, the barley, and a pinch of salt over high heat. Once it has reached a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer; cover and cook until the barley is tender but chewy – 35 to 40 minutes (the time depends on the character of the barley, so check often after 35 minutes or look at your package instructions). When the barley is done, it will have absorbed most of the water. If there is excess water, drain the barley.
  2. While the barley cooks, make the ginger dressing (recipe below).
  3. Add the barley, cucumbers, pears, and ½ teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl and toss together. Mix in the ginger dressing and stir together until thoroughly combined; set aside while you prepare the tuna.
  4. Mix the sesame seeds together in a medium bowl. Sprinkle the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt over the tuna and then coat with the seeds. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the tuna and cook 15-30 seconds, flipping constantly to brown all sides (you want the tuna to be raw on the inside, so don’t cook it for any longer).
  5. To serve, spoon the salad equally between two plates and top with the tuna croutons.

Keep it simple:

  • Cook the barley in about half the time by using pearled barley which cooks faster than regular barley.
  • The tuna cooks super quick, the bigger the pieces are the less of a chance you have of over cooking it so cut the tuna on the bigger side.


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