I make some type of grain salad at least once a month, often much more often. Mixing grains and vegetables create hearty salads that keep you feeling full and are great meatless meals. I usually use farro as my grain of choice, an ancient grain we use very often in Umbria, Italy, but I decided to use barley for this particular salad. Barley has a similar texture and shape as farro, and either grain works well in this salad. You may think that mixing beets and strawberries is an odd combination, but actually, when roasted, beets have an earthy sweetness that goes well with fruit.
After a lot of trial and error, I found that the best way to cook beets is to wrap them in aluminum foil packets unpeeled and roast them. The steam that develops when baking helps to keep the beets plump and easy to peel. I used to roast them in their skins uncovered, but the skins shrivel and they become a bit finicky to peel.
The red from the beets color the cooked barley creating a gorgeous colored salad. I added some red onion slivers, a handful of fresh chopped herbs, and some chopped pistachios and goat cheese crumbles. I made a vibrantly flavored wine vinegar mustard dressing for my salad which brings out the flavors of the ingredients. This salad packs well for lunches or picnics, although it is best kept refrigerated. If you like, you could serve this salad on a bed of greens such as arugula or spinach.
Deborah Mele 2021
- 2 Cups Cooked Barley (Cooked According To Package Directions)
- 1 Pound Medium Sized Red Beets
- 1 Pound fresh, Ripe Strawberries, Trimmed & Quarters
- 1 Medium Red Onions, Peeled & Thinly Sliced
- Small Handful Fresh Chopped Herbs Such As Parsley, Mint, And/or Basil
- 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
- 3 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon Honey
- 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- Salt & Pepper To Taste
- 1/2 Cup Goat Cheese Crumbles
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Pistachios
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Enclose the beets in an aluminum foil packet, and place on a baking sheet.
- Bake until fork tender, about 45 minute to an hour depending on size.
- Cool to room temperature, then use a sharp pairing knife to peel.
- Cut beets into 1 1/2 inch chunks.
- Place the barley, beets, strawberries, onion, and herbs, and toss to mix.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
- Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss to mix.
- Place the salad into a serving bowl or platter, then scatter the goat cheese and nuts on top before serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 367Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 269mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 7gSugar: 16gProtein: 9g