This golden beet and barley salad makes for a perfectly light, and healthy weeknight meal that is easy to prepare. There is only a little patience required while the beets roast. But all the prep can be done while you are waiting! Or, if you’re planning ahead, the beets could easily be roasted beforehand and stored in the fridge until ready to use.
Salad, Side Dish
For the salad:
2small to medium-sized golden beets,trimmed and scrubbed clean
1cupuncooked pearl barley,(220 g)
1/2cuphazelnuts,toasted and coarsely chopped (50 g)
1small fennel bulb,quartered, stemmed and thinly sliced
2tablespoonsfresh mint leaves,chopped
4tablespoonsfresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, chopped
freshly ground red pepper flakes,optional
For the dressing:
4tablespoonsextra-virgin olive oil
2tablespoonsred wine vinegar
2tablespoonfreshly squeezed lemon juice
sea salt and freshly ground pepper,to taste
Heat the oven to 430°F / 220°C. Loosely wrap the beets in foil and roast them in the oven until they are just fork tender, about 45-60 minutes (depending on size). Let cool enough to handle, then peel and dice the beets into cubes.
TIP: To peel the beets, just hold one of the beets in a paper towel and use the edges of the paper towel to rub the skin away – so easy!
Meanwhile, cook the barley according to package instructions. In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups (750 ml) of salted 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.
While the beets and barley cook, roast the hazelnuts. In a dry large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts, stirring them to color evenly, until the skins brown in places and begin to split and flake, about 10 minutes. Transfer the nuts into a clean kitchen towel and roll the towel around them. Rub the nuts against one another inside the towel to remove the skins (some bits of skin will remain). Transfer the nuts to a cutting board and chop coarsely.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, lemon juice and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the barley to a serving bowl, along with the beets, fennel, fresh herbs and hazelnuts. Add the dressing and toss to combine.
If desired, season this golden beet and barley salad with red pepper flakes. Enjoy!