Barley Salad with Beets, Beet Greens & Feta

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OK, it’s not raw. It’s still healthy. And really delicious. I had a BBQ this past weekend for Father’s Day, and for it, I had to forgo the raw foods and bust out some meat. And cooked stuff.

I love this recipe cause it uses the whole beet — I like to chop the greens with the stems attached, it just makes a crunchiness in the salad which is awesome and utilizes the whole thing. It’s a version of Martha Shulman’s Farro Salad with Beets, Beet Greens and Feta. I only had barley around, so it became a whole new dish. (By the way, the barley is fantastic in this dish, and I think any grain would really be fine with some adjustment on the cooking times.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium or 3 small beets (any color) with greens, the beets roasted. (I peeled and chopped them before roasting, which speeds up roasting time and makes them sweet and crispy).
  • 1 cup barley, soaked for one hour in water to cover and drained
  • Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced or pureed
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • ½ cup broken walnut pieces
  • 2 ounces feta or goat cheese, crumbled (more if desired for garnish) (ALSO: I like this with ricotta salata, if you can find it)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon, marjoram, chives, mint (I just used mint and dill since that’s what we got)

Preparation:

  1. Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, add salt to taste and the greens. Blanch for two minutes, and transfer to the ice water. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then drain and squeeze out excess water. Chop coarsely and set aside.
  2. Bring the water back to a boil, and add the barley. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes, stirring from time to time, or until the barley is tender. Remove from the heat and allow the grains to swell in the cooking water for 10 minutes, then drain.
  3. While the barley is cooking, make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the vinegars, salt, garlic and mustard. Whisk in the oil(s). Add to the barley. Add beets, along with the beet greens, feta or goat cheese, herbs and walnuts. Toss together, and serve warm or room temperature with a little more cheese sprinkled over the top if you wish.

YUM!!!! I promise to get back to the raw. But in the meantime make and eat this.

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