Barley and Roasted Vegetable Salad

Ingredients:

1-cup pearled barley (7 ounces)

1 tsp. coarse kosher salt

For the roasted vegetables

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1 large red onion, peeled and cut into eight wedges

a whole, unpeeled head of garlic cut in half horizontally

1 pound fresh carrots, scraped, rinsed, and cut into 1-inch pieces at an angle

2 large sweet red bell peppers, or one red and one yellow, stemmed, seeded, halved horizontally, and each half cut into 10 strips

1 pound fresh mushrooms, cultivated or wild, rinsed and halved

3 tbsp. olive oil

1-2 tsp. coarse kosher salt, or to taste

6-8 fresh thyme sprigs

Dressing

1 cup walnuts, toasted, cooled, and coarsely chopped

1 small shallot, very finely chopped

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For Finishing

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup snipped chives

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup shaved Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

Fill a large pot with water, add salt, and bring to a boil. Add barley, reduce heat to medium, and cook barley until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain barley in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well.

Transfer barley to a large serving bowl. Set aside.

While barley cooks, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place all vegetables in a large bowl and toss with olive oil and salt.  

Turn out onto 1 large, or 2 smaller baking pans in a single layer.  Scatter thyme sprigs over vegetables. Bake vegetables for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through.  

To make dressing, place walnuts, shallot, thyme, lemon juice and zest in a food processor. With machine one, drizzle in olive oil through food chute until dressing is emulsified.  Pour into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Add vegetables to bowl of barley and toss to distribute evenly. Drizzle mixture with walnut dressing and toss to combine. (Salad may be made 1 day in advance up to this point. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Before continuing with recipe, gently reheat salad in a microwave or preheated oven until just warm.).  

Before serving, mix in additional lemon juice and chives, season with salt and pepper, and toss with cheese, if using.  

Serves 6-8 as a side dish.

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