As part of my work I get to teach cooking class and present different cooking demos to clients – yes I love this part of my job. For an upcoming class I was tasked with using different vinaigrettes and salad dressings. I wanted to show a variety of types of “acids” you can use with a dressing – the most common being vinegar, but adding in a citrus also adds to some complexity and flavor. Rather than dressing only green salads, I also wanted some other type of salad and grain salads with farro and freekeh are pretty popular right now. To change things up I went with barley – yep I know it’s typically thought of in soup, but these are pillows of heaven and should be used more often (I will probably be making a risotto with them in the near future). Since I love beets and oranges together, this salad was born.
Feel free to get creative with your favorite grain or green for the salad bed. Cooking is all about experimentation! And this is now packed for all of my lunches this week. I’m feeling sort of a winter spring clash with this dish – comforts of winter with the beets and oranges meet the lightness of spring with the arugula.
Orange and Beet Barley Salad
Serves about 4
- 1 cup dry Italian Barley, farro, or other grain
- 3 medium oranges
- 2 large or 3 small beets
- 2 oz crumbled goat cheese (optional)
- 6 cups arugula
- Sliced Almonds (optional)
- ¼ c olive oil
- ¼ c champagne vinegar (or other light tasting vinegar)
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1T sugar
- 1T brown sugar
- Cook dry barley with 3 cups of water until tender, drain any excess water. Stove top or a rice cooker will do the job. Set aside to cool.
- Cut the top and bottom off the beets, wrap in foil, and bake in 350F oven for 1 hour. Cool slightly or until cool enough to handle. Using a butter knife, remove loose skin from outside of beets.
- For oranges, cut off the top and bottom, then using a sharp knife cut along the sides to remove peel and outer pith. Next cut oranges in half and cut into small chunks.
- Mix all dressing ingredients together and shake vigorously in a mason jar or other tightly sealed container. Toss barley and oranges with half dressing to start.
- Dice beets and toss into barley along with oranges just enough to mix – otherwise your salad will be pink. 🙂
- Serve over arugula and sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese.
*For extra crunch add toasted sliced almonds.