Sunday, February 20, 2011

Beet, Barley, and Toasted Walnut Salad with Honey Balsamic Dressing...

Calling all overworked, exhausted, over scheduled, and busy Moms and Dads.  Do you ever make something special for your lunch???  I'll bet not!  I make many, many salads that would be absolutely perfect to make for yourself to enjoy for lunch throughout the week.  Loaded with fiber, protein, and most of all, flavor, this salad fits the bill.  You get the chewy texture of the barley, crunchy walnuts, sweetness from the beets, a tang from the feta, and to pull all of the flavors together, a honey balsamic dressing....YUMMERS!  I do not use the quick cooking barley, feel free to do so if you like.  There is quite a difference in cooking time.

Here we go....

First ingredient, the star of the show...pearled barley...

Regular barley is quite starchy so it'll need a good rinse...

Rinse the barley for several minutes under running water.  This will remove the excess starch and prevent the cooked barley from becoming gummy.
Add the water and salt to the pan.  Bring to a bubble over medium-high heat, then lower heat to medium-low.  Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.  While the barley is cooking prep the rest of the salad ingredients.

You will need chopped onions, chopped parsley, crumbled feta cheese and toasted walnuts.
To toast the walnuts, spread onto a cookie sheet and bake in a 300' oven for 12 minutes. 
Finely chop the walnuts, set aside.
For the dressing, whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, and granulated garlic powder.

Add the seasonings to the liquid ingredients....

Whisk until well blended.

Into a large mixing bowl, add cooled barley, parsley, feta, chopped walnuts, chopped onions, and rinsed and drained beets.  Pour the dressing over the salad and gently mix until well blended.  Refrigerate unused salad. 

Beet and Barley Salad with Balsamic Dressing and Toasted Walnuts

For the barley:
1 cup barley, rinsed and drained
2 ½ cups water
¼ teaspoon salt

For the salad:
½ cup parsley
½ cup toasted walnuts (300’ for 10 minutes, then finely chop)
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup onion, finely chopped
1 can sliced beets, drained and rinsed

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons each balsamic vinegar, honey, and olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper

1) Rinse barley under running water for a few minutes. Place in medium pot and add water and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Lower heat to medium-low and cook uncovered for 45 minutes. Barley should be chewy. Cool in a large mixing bowl.
2) While the barley is cooking, toast and chop the walnuts, chop the onion and parsley, and crumble the feta.  Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl, set aside.  Drain and rinse the beets in a strainer.
3) Once the barley is cool, add parsley, walnuts, feta, onion, and beets to the barley bowl. Add dressing to the bowl and gently mix until well blended. Makes about six half cup servings.


Have a healthy weekend!

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