Barley Salad is a healthy and hearty dish that can be adapted with the veggies you have available in your kitchen.
Yes, this is a baking blog but I feel it’s my civic duty to occasionally post a more healthy recipe. I honestly feel no guilt about eating delicious baked goods made from fresh ingredients. But in the real world those are an occasional treat. My day to day diet has more salads and fewer pies than my blog may lead you to believe.
Don’t worry. This isn’t going to turn into a salad blog. Just every now and then if I’ve got a savory recipe that I particularly enjoy I’d like to share it.
We’ve been members of a local cooperative farm for the last 13 years. I love my farm membership for lots of reasons. Not the least of which are the environmental benefits of a small organic farm that supplies produce locally.
As members of the farm we get a share of whatever the farmer is growing. Over the years I’ve been introduced to vegetables that I may have ignored or never seen in my local grocery. I can’t tell you how many varieties of kale, cabbage and lettuce we’ve gotten this spring. I’ve become obsessed with bok choy over the years and look forward to garlic scapes every spring.
The only “downside” to the farm share is the guilt I feel when I don’t use up the vegetables before they start going bad.
One of my favorite ways to use up a variety of veggies at once is barley salad. I love the chewy texture and fulfilling flavor of barley. I cook the barley in chicken stock to give it an extra dimension of flavor. Of course you can cook it in water if you prefer to keep it vegan.
I had beautiful green beans from the farm share and wanted those to be the base of the salad along with the barley. I found a bunch of beets in the refrigerator, also from the farm. I love to combine orange segments and roasted beets. The pickled onion gives a great subtle onion flavor and the walnuts add a satisfying crunch.
This version was especially delicious and I plan to make it again. But you can vary the exact mix of vegetables based on what you’ve got hanging around in your refrigerator. You can swap out the barley for quinoa, wheatberries or even rice. It’s really more a concept than a recipe. I guess I should just call it “empty the refrigerator” salad.