Pearl barley requires less cooking time, which means you can get this nutritious salad chock-full of fresh herbs and dates on the table in a flash.
Bring barley and 3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until barley is tender, about 40 minutes. Drain if necessary and let cool.
In a medium skillet, toast cumin seeds over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside. Add oil and shallots to same skillet and heat over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are golden and crispy, about 9 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; reserve oil.
Combine turmeric, lemon juice, and reserved toasted cumin seeds and oil; season with salt and pepper. Add to barley along with herbs and dates. Stir to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with crispy shallots.