I have only recently started my fascination with grains, and this is the first time I have cooked barley. Strangely, in its raw state the smell of barley reminds me of when I used to do horse riding lessons, maybe a similar smell to hay? I’m not sure, but the association was there as I was about to prepare the barley. Needless to say cooked barley tastes nothing like I imagine hay would taste like. Not that I have ever tried it.
You may have picked up that I am a fan of roasted vegetables. A generous splash of olive oil, generous lashings of freshly ground sea salt and some crushed garlic are the ultimate roasting ingredients in my opinion. A sprig or two of rosemary goes well too. A lot of dishes I prepare that involve vegetables will involve roasting, and I am never disappointed.
I wasn’t sure the dressing would work well once I had made it and tasted it on its own, but once I splashed it on the salad I was pleasantly surprised. The cumin and honey combined with the barley and vegetables just works, really nicely. Despite the horse feed association, I will definitely be indulging in barley again. This salad was a hit!
1 sweet potato, scrubbed and diced (skin on)
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
Handful of beans, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, roughly crushed
Sea salt and black pepper
1 cup barley
2 ½ cups vegetable stock
½ red onion, thinly sliced
½ cup coriander, chopped
100g Feta, crumbled
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp cumin
Juice from ½ lemon
1 tbsp honey
Preheat oven to 200oC.
Rinse barley well. Place stock into a saucepan, bring to boil. Reduce heat, add barley, cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes until stock is absorbed. Set aside to cool. Barley should be fluffy but still have a slight crunch once cooked.
Place sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, beans and garlic onto a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, add lashings of freshly ground sea salt and black pepper. Roast in oven for 25-30 minutes or until sweet potato is soft, tossing halfway.
In a large bowl combine sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, beans, red onion, coriander and barley. Combine dressing ingredients well, add to salad. Top with crumbled feta and serve.