Lots o’veggies barley salad

What’s nutty, though not crazy; rich, though not a mineral; and chewy, though not pasta?

Welcome to the Barley World, a world in which barley (interestingly enough) is used for something more than making beer. 😀 Among others, it seems that barley can be used to create brightly-colored-scrumptious-roasted-veggies-warm salads. This super-grain, in addition to being extremely pleasing to the taste buds, is very good for our bodies. Barley is a very good source of carbohydrates, protein and B vitamins (which are important for the nervous system). It’s also rich in many minerals like iron, magnesium, manganese and phosphorous (which keeps our bones healthy).

‘Nough with the praising (for now). Moving on to the food.

To make the dish, we used:

1 big sweet potato 
1 big carrot (both chopped)
2 celery sticks(chopped)
1 TBSP olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

and

2 cups uncooked pearled barley 
4 cups water and 2 bay leaves

and finally

1 medium-small onion (finely chopped) 
2 garlic cloves (grated)
couple of handfuls of snow peas (trimmed) 
a bunch of spinach (roughly chopped)

We made the dressing with

2/3 TBSP Dijon mustard 
generous amounts of extra virgin olive oil
1 TBSP sherry vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

We took the first set of ingredients and popped them into the oven. We roasted them for about half an hour at 200°C.

At the same time, we put the pot of water to boil. Once it was boiling, we added the bay leaves and the barley and left it to simmer until the barley was chewy – about 25 minutes.

When the barley was almost cooked and the roasted veggies almost done, we added a tbsp of olive oil to a hot pan and cooked the onion (about 3-4 minutes). We then added the peas and after another couple of minutes added the spinach. We stirred and cooked with the lid on for 2-3 minutes, then added the grated garlic and tossed to cover.

Fortunately our timing was good (this time) and everything else was done as well – we drained the barley and added it to the pan, together with the roasted veggies and the dressing. We tossed to cover everything in everything (yum!), took a deep long breath to inhale all the aroma and then grabbed our spoons!

The beauty of this dish is that it can be made with almost any other leftover greens & beans we have in the fridge. In retrospect, it could have used a couple of finely sliced chilies as well.

This makes about 4 main servings. Or 3 for really hungry people.

C.

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