This simple beet and barley salad has bright pops of colour thanks to ruby red and golden beets, as well as red onions mixed in with pearl barley, mint, spinach and salty feta. It’s topped with a harissa yoghurt dressing which gives it a Middle Eastern touch that has a delicate heat thanks to the cooling yogurt. This is a great way to enjoy a grain salad in a new way!
Pearl barley: more versatile than just for soups and stews
Pearled barley is one of my favourite grains for salad. It’s quick and easy to prepare and has a delicious nutty flavour and texture. As the fibrous outer hull of whole grain barley has been removed or partially removed and polished, the barley grains have a smooth surface and quick cooking time. Which of course, is what makes it a great choice when looking for a quick cooking and nutritious grain that is rich in protein, vitamin and mineral content as well as other beneficial plant compounds. And it pairs wonderfully with fresh herbs and roasted vegetables, especially beets.
Harissa yoghurt dressing adds Middle Eastern flair to simple dishes
Harissa seems to find it’s way into my cooking more and more. I simply love the depth of the flavor thanks it’s combination of smoked, fresh and roasted peppers, along with spices and herbs. And the mixture of yoghurt and harissa is also a welcome combination, since the yoghurt mellows out the spiciness while still leaving some lingering heat. And thus is this beet and barley salad born. It is inspired by one of favourite ways to enjoy harissa spice, in this simple recipe for Roasted Beetroot Salad with Harissa-Yoghurt.
Looking for other ways to use barley?
Then try one of these delicious recipes:
- Warm Mushroom Barley Salad with Herbs
- Barley Bowl with Lemon-Spinach Pesto
- Roasted Golden Beet and Barley Salad
- Barley Risotto with Feta and Kale
- Barley Salad With Roasted Carrots
Otherwise, check out my ingredients page and choose barley to view other tasty recipes using this grain.
Beet and Barley Salad with Feta & Harissa Dressing
Beet and pearl barley salad with roasted beetroot and red onion tossed with pearl barley, mint and spinach, then topped with a Middle Eastern inspired harissa dressing.
For the salad:
- 4 medium beetroot peeled and cut into wedges (ca. 650 g, I use a mix of yellow and red)
- 1 medium red onion, cut into wedges
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup pearl barley (200 g)
- 100 g feta, or more to taste, crumbled
- Handful mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1 generous handful spinach leaves, stemmed and thinly sliced
- Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons greek yoghurt
- 2 teaspoons harissa spice mix, or to taste
- Sea salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the beets and red onion onto the baking sheet and toss with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread into an even layer without crowding and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until just fork soft (depending on size of the wedges).
Meanwhile, cook the barley according to package instructions. In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups (750 ml) of water to a boil. Add the barley and reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, until the barley is al dente. If liquid remains, drain the barley in a colander (or use the lid of the pot to strain off any excess moisture). Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, lemon juice, yoghurt, harissa spice and salt) until well combined.
In a large bowl, toss the barley with the spinach, mint, feta and roasted vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to serving platter, and drizzle with some of the dressing. Serve the remainder on side, along with lemon wedges, for anyone who wants to add a little extra zing! Enjoy!
- The dressing has a subtle level of heat, however, the spiciness of harissa depends on the brand, so start with a little and add more from there (I like Spicebar's organic harissa spice, but there are a number of great harissa suppliers). If you are using a paste rather than a spice mix you can also reduce the amount of olive oil slightly.
- Feel free to top with some chopped roasted almonds for added texture.
For a relaxing atmosphere in the kitchen I recommend my personal Elle Republic: Chilled Out Kitchen Tunes Playlist on Spotify.
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