This is the second in my latest salad series. It’s a good one too because it’s got roasted beets and toasted pecans in it. Whenever those two ingredients are on my plate, I’m a happy camper.
This isn’t a traditional salad in the way you might think of one. It’s got some elements of a salad, but really, it’s more like the recipes for those I shared over the summer. The ones with rice and grains and fruits and olives. It’s a heavier salad and will really fill you up. To see some of the recipes I’m referring to, please take a look through my salads category. There are some really nice salad options in it.
I eat barley a few times a week, so this ingredient wasn’t new to me. If you’ve never tried it, I encourage you to do so because there are some nice health benefits. Think about fiber, selenium, B vitamins, copper, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium, niacin, and more. Also, when you compare it to rice and other grains, you’ll notice that it’s lower in fat and higher in fiber and minerals. Overall, I like it because it’s filling, not too expensive and pretty healthy. When used in this recipe, it’s infused with a vinaigrette to give it flavor. That vinaigrette, combined with the texture of the grain makes it the perfect ingredient medley.
Roasted beets speak for themselves. I can’t say enough good things about them. Besides the many obvious health benefits of beets (vitamin C, fiber, potassium, manganese and the B vitamin folate), they’re just so tasty and fun to eat. I love them in salads because they add a lot of bulk and when seasoned properly, they’re rather awesome tasting.
Overall, when you combine the barley, beets, vinaigrette, toasted pecans and the goat cheese, you’re setting yourself up for a plateful of goodness. By the way, you’ll also be stuffed by the time you’re finished eating a serving of this salad. It’s legit.
2 Large Beets, Cleaned and Trimmed
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Cup Barley, Rinsed
2 Teaspoons Sherry Vinegar
Ground Black Pepper
1/2 Cup Crushed Pecans, Toasted
1 Teaspoon Dried Tarragon
4 Ounces Goat Cheese, Crumbed
You can use any type of nut you like in this recipe, as long as it toasts well. I generally like to eat pecans, so I use them in many recipes I share on this site. If you’re a lover of something else, such as walnuts or hazelnuts, please feel free to go with them.
Arrange your oven racks so one of them is in the center position. Then, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Make the Barley
The barley and the beets will take the longest to cook, so I’m putting them first. Basically, follow the cooking instructions on the bag of barley you have. On mine (Bob’s Red Mill), it says to bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium sized saucepan. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt to the water. Then, add the barley and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let simmer for about 45 minutes until the barley is tender, yet firm.
When the cooking is finished, drain off any excess water and transfer the ingredient from the pot into a medium sized bowl.
Cook the Beets
While the barley is simmering, roast the beets. Be sure to trim each one and clean the skin well. Then, cut each beet into 6 wedges and place them in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the bowl, along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Toss well until all the beets are coated with the oil, salt and pepper. Then, place the beets in an oven safe dish.
Place the dish into the oven and let roast for 1 hour. When tender, remove the beets and turn off the heat. Let the beets cool for 15 minutes and then slice each one 1/2 inch thick.
Make the Vinaigrette
In a medium sized bowl, add the sherry vinegar, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and the dried tarragon. Whisk these ingredients together well.
Toast the Pecans
Warm a small skillet over medium heat. Then, add the crushed pecans and let toast for a few minutes. Be sure to flip the pecans frequently or they may burn. Toast just until you begin to smell them. When that happens, remove the skillet from the heat.
Combine Ingredients & Serve
Add half of the vinaigrette to the barley and mix everything together. Then, divide the barley between 4 plates. Divide the beets between those plates as well, placing them on top of the barley. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over the beets. Sprinkle some goat cheese on top of the beets and some pecans on top of that. Serve and enjoy!
The Final Barley & Beet Salad
As you may have noticed from the photos above, I made a little extra so Laura and I would have leftovers. We really liked this salad last night and get to enjoy it again tonight. Give this one a try. I think you’ll like it. Thanks for reading!