Autumn Harvest Barley Salad
Autumn just might be my favorite season, as there’s nothing more delicious and versatile than a winter squash. Filled with hearty barley and squash, roasted to enhance its sweetness, this autumn harvest salad is abundant and filling enough for a stand-alone main meal or as a side dish for a special occasion.
- For the Salad:
- 1/2 cup (100 g) uncooked pearled barley
- 1 cup (235 ml) water or vegetable stock
- Salt Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small squash (I use red kuri that weigh about 1.5 lb [680 g]. Any kind of squash or even sweet potato will work.)
- Drizzle of oil
- 8 cups (440 g) mixed salad greens
- 1 apple, cored and sliced or diced
- 1/4 cup (30 g) dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons (18 g) pumpkin seeds
- For the Dressing:
- 2 to 6 tbsp (30 to 90 ml) water, or as necessary
- 1/4 cup (60 g) tahini
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) brown rice syrup, pure maple syrup, or agave nectar
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 small clove garlic, minced (omit if you don’t like raw garlic)
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
In a strainer, rinse the barley under cold water. In a microwave-safe dish with a lid, combine the barley and water or stock. For example, a CorningWare-style ceramic dish with a glass lid or a plastic microwave rice and grain cooker work well for this. If you don’t have either of those, use a large nonmetal bowl covered with a plate. Just be sure that your bowl is large and deep, to prevent overflow. Cover and microwave on 50 percent power for 20 minutes. If it’s your first time cooking barley in the microwave, keep an eye on it, since every microwave oven cooks differently and you don’t want to over- or undercook it. It’s done when it’s tender and all the water has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, carefully cut your squash in half and scoop out the seeds (reserve the seeds to roast another time). Slice into 1-inch (2.5-cm) slices and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with a touch of oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat each piece and arrange in a single layer on the pan.
Roast until tender, 15 to 20 minutes (you can start roasting even while the oven is still preheating).
To prepare the dressing, in a small bowl, stir together all the dressing ingredients, starting with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of water and adding more as needed to reach a pourable consistency. You can adjust the avors if you’d like more sweetener or lemon.
In a large bowl, gently toss together the salad greens, barley, apple slices, squash slices, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds.
Serve with the dressing on the side to drizzle over the salad.
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Reprinted with permission from 30-Minute Frugal Vegan by Melissa Copeland, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019. Photo credit: Melissa Copeland