Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Barley & Roasted veggies salad

Dear foodies,

With the temperatures slowly raising and the days getting longer, salads are finding their way back into the kitchen. Most weekends, my day starts pretty late. I wake up and make myself a nice hot cup of coffee, preferably madras style filter kaapi, the perfect start to any weekend. Along with a few biscuits to dunk in the goodness, I am set for a few hours. Every week, I dream of making myself a good breakfast over the weekend, but that has almost never happened. Armed with my coffee, I go around doing random chores, making phone calls, or just browsing the net until I hear my tummy growl. It's usually 1 or 2 in the afternoon by then, and I am ravenous by the time I enter the kitchen. All my plans of making a nice leisurely breakfast/brunch fly out the window, and just as is the case over the weekdays...I rush to cook something quick, sigh.

Last weekend was no different, but I forced myself to snack on some fruit so I could buy time to cook the barley. The barley that I picked up from the bulk bins a few weeks (or months!) back and thought it was finally time to atleast try it out. I was in no mood of elaborate lunches and definitely not something piping hot. Since it was my first time cooking with barley, I googled for cooking times. 45-60mins! I was already hungry by then and 60mins sounded ridiculous at that moment :D I brought out the machine guns, err pressure cooker and after 15mins and 2 whistles, the barley was cooked and I was happy :) In the meantime I roasted some beets, asparagus and cauliflower, toasted some chickpeas from my frozen stash, blanched some green beans, and a fantastic summer salad came together :) ok ok, you will say that cauliflowers are not really in season and turning the oven ON in summer is crazy, but hey, look at the color of the salad.... summery right ?

Roasted veggies and barley salad

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups - pearled barley
  • 1 nos - Beetroot, medium sized (~ 1.25 cups, diced)
  • 15-20 nos - Cauliflower florets
  • 6-8 nos - Asparagus spears
  • handful of fresh green beans
  • 1/2 cup - Chickpeas, pre-soaked & cooked
  • 1/2 tsp - Chilli garlic sauce
  • 2 tsp - toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp - low sodium Tamari
  • juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp - Olive oil
  • crumbled Feta cheese - optional
Method:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Wash and pressure cook the barley, with a little salt, in twice its amount of water for 15mins or 2 whistles (one less than that for rice in my cooker). Once cooked, drain and set aside.
  2. Peel and cube the beetroot. (This is a veggie that will stain everything it touches, and since I have a wooden cutting board, I covered the board with foil and plastic wrap.) Microwave the cubed beets for 4mins in salted water, drain and spread on a foiled lined, baking sheet.
  3. Drown the cauliflower florets in vinegar+water for a few minutes to get rid of the grime and other outsiders :D Drain & microwave them in salted water for 3 mins, drain and spread on the same baking sheet. Make room for the asparagus spears in there too. Keep them separate though or the beets will complete stain the other veggies.
  4. Drizzle some olive oil to coat all the veggies, sprinkle salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 15mins.
  5. The asparagus are usually done by now, remove then from the sheet and cut into 2" lengths. Check to see if the beets are tender. Set the oven on broil for 2 mins to brown the rest of veggies.
  6. In the meantime, string the beans and cut them in 2" lengths. Blanch them in salted water, I microwaved them for 3-4mins.
  7. Heat 2 tsp of olive oil in a pan and roast the chickpeas. It takes around 6-8mins on medium heat to slightly crisp them.
  8. Now toss all the ingredients together (preferably with the barley still warm) with the chilli garlic sauce, salt, pepper and a final squeeze of lemon juice. Sprinkle some crumbled feta cheese on top and serve warm or cold.
Looking at the method, you might think its a looot of work, but its many small tasks which can be done simultaneously, so no worries :) I ate half the roasted veggies even before they made is to the salad, yummmm..., the crisp chickpeas were a delight too. Roasted asparagus has such a nice flavor and its a frequent snack for me in the evenings, so I made a double batch of them. You could also add toasted nuts like walnuts, pecans or almonds for some extra crunch. Fresh herbs from your garden would be perfect in this too. If you want the cauliflower to retain its color, toss it right at the end after mixing in all the other ingredients.

This salad is very filling, a bowl of it and along with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice was my brunch that day. The barley was cooked well, and was chewy and tender at the same time. I thought pressure cooking it was the best way to soften the grains in a short period of time. Is that how you cook barley ? How else do I use the grain ?

23 thoughts:

chakhlere said...

woww!!
This is so nice idea of roasted veggies!!
I love salads!!
Gonna try it today itself.. as i have many of the things in my kitchen!!
Grt click as usual!!

Parita said...

I like the idea of roasting the veggies, though havent used barley much yet in my diet, this salad makes me want to dig in the bowl..looks fantastic!

Pavithra said...

Wow wonder ful combo of veggies looking so good and healthy

Pavani said...

Salad looks yummy. I over-plan my weekends and at the end nothing ever seems to be done. I think I'm more active on a weekday night than I'm on a weekend, especially sunday afternoon is depressing for me.

Rush said...

amazing combo lady..and i love the way u have clicked them!!

Rush said...

new here and hoping to visit more often :)

Ann said...

Salad looks ultra yumm and healthy. love that picture.

Soma said...

Priya, looks colorful & summery & i love the way the barley took on the pink & red from the beet. I make barley salad very often, only never pressure cooked it. now i know when i forget to soak it.. usually overnight. I do it with roasted veggies, but never used beet.

Manisha said...

What a colorful salad, Priya! And I especially like the touch of feta!

Sadly though the days will only get shorter now that we're past the summer equinox and officially into summer.

Priya said...


Chakhlere, let me know how you like it :) I've been trying to find ways to include more salads these days.

Parita, this was my first expt with barley. Roasted veggies have a wonderful flavor to them, I could happily snack on them.

Pavithra, yup, made me feel good abt myself just by eating it :D

Pavani, most my weekends are unplanned :D I have a very vague agenda of what needs to be done and the rest just gets filled up with 'stuff'. But yes, Sundays are a tricky.

Rush, welcome and thank you so much for dropping by. I now have a lot to catch up on your blog.

Ann, thank you :) you must give it a try too.

Soma, so do you soak the barley overnight and then cook them on the stove top ? or will plain soaking suffice ? I was totally clueless, and so pressure cooked them.

Superchef said...

salad in itself is healthy..add the whole grains too and its super healthy now!!

Kalai said...

Gorgeous salad, Priya! I always find myself finishing up half of the roasted veggies before I make anything with them... So addictive! Awesome pics. :)

Prathibha said...

Wow thats a great idea of roasting veggies..looks a wholesome meal..

Sanghi said...

Hi Priya.. First time here, akshayapaatram is true when i visited urs.. Full Yummy delights! Loved ur clicks.. Very good presentation! Bookmarked..! Check mine too!

Kitchen Flavours said...

Weekends are mostly similar for everyone i think.....what an healthy way to charge yourself during weekends...looks healthy and yum.

MeetaK said...

a sensational salad. perfect and so colorful! have to try this!

Priya said...

Wat a beautiful and healthy salad, lovely combination of veggies!!

sunita said...

Lovely salad Priya. I make stews with pearl barley...I don't soak them, just simmer on the stove top.

applecrumbles said...

The salad has everything in it. What a wonderful dish.

Pallavi said...

Wow this is awesome. Nice combination of taste and nutrition.. Yummy..

Vaishali said...

That looks so colorful and healthy, Priya. Barley's one of my favorite grains, and with roasted veggies it must be out of this world.

Miri said...

This will make a welcome change to the usual roasted salad we have - and the chickpeas sound like a great idea!

christygerald said...

Very good recipe, the photos are great as usual.

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