This delicious whole grain salad combines hearty barley with tender, savory roasted vegetables. Perfect Meatless Monday lunch or dinner recipe!
Whole grains can be a delicious, affordable way to get a boost of protein, fiber, and nutrients into your meals. And despite the evil reputation they've been given in diet books and other
places, eating the right types of grains in the right portions is actually really important for the body. Whole grains are a great source of complex carbohydrates, giving you energy that
will last a long time. Not to mention the fiber that is fabulous for digestion and also may help lower cholesterol. And they're filling, making them one of the most affordable health
foods in the grocery store.
Whole grains like barley do take a little time to cook, but what I like to do is make a batch of a whole grain at the beginning of the week, let it cool and put it in the fridge so it's there for different recipes throughout the week. The results are so worth the time! Most grocery stores also sell quick-cooking versions of whole grains, which just means they've already been partially cooked before they are dried, saving tons of cooking time at home. Next time you're at the store, head to the grain aisle and look for 10-minute versions of grains like quinoa, barley, farro, and even steel cut oats. They are awesome!
This recipe has a few different parts, all of which are simple, and it comes together to make a really nice, filling dish. The first thing to do is cook the barley. You can buy barley
in it's whole state or pearl barley, which is slightly more refined and cooks a little faster. I used a medium pearl barley here, which took about 40 minutes to cook. All you do
is follow the directions on the package, which basically involves putting the barley in boiling water and babysitting it for a while.
While the barley is cooking, you'll have time to prep the veggies for roasting. You've just got to peel and chop the sweet potato, slice the zucchini, and then toss them and the mushrooms
(or whatever veggies you're using) with some salt, pepper, and canola oil. Spread them out on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and bake for 20 minutes. The veggies
will be tender and have delicious crunchy brown edges.
To make the dressing, just whisk the oil, balsamic, honey, mustard, and pepper together. I like dressings that don't require lots of special ingredients, so this one uses things I've always
Once everything is cooked, just mix it all together and that's it! You've got a hearty salad that makes for a great lunch or dinner. You can eat it warm or cold - I prefer it as a
cold salad, but eat it however you like!
Barley Salad with Roasted Vegetables
Makes about 6 servings
For the barley:
3/4 cup dried medium pearl barley
4 cups water
pinch of salt
For the roasted vegetables:
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons canola oil
salt and pepper to taste
For the dressing:
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
pepper to taste
In a medium pot, heat the water to boiling. Add the barley and salt, and cook about 40 minutes or until tender with a
slight bite. Drain any excess water.
Meanwhile, to prepare the vegetables, preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the vegetables, salt, and
pepper together and spread evenly on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
For the dressing, whisk the ingredients together until completely blended.
Once the barley and vegetables are cooked, put them in a large bowl, pour the dressing over the top and mix it all
together. Serve warm or let cool, refrigerate at least 1 hour and serve cold.