Barley, Beet & Kale Salad with Feta

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This salad is more than a salad, it is a meal. It has everything you would want in a meal and a salad;  protein to sustain your stomach for a while and, fiber and antioxidants (kale & beets), salty feta and a fresh orange zest to round out the flavors. Although I have made this salad/meal with barley (which is wheat free, not gf) you can sub out any grain, like quinoa or wild rice. It would give the same overall effect. This is a meal that gets better over time. You can prepare this a day in advance while the kale softens up from the rice vinegar dressing. Kale is not one of the wimpy greens that shrivels up and gets mushy with a dressing; it’s assertive at first and holds up but with time and maceration in a vinaigrette it absorbs the flavors and softens up a bit. It’s also one of the many reasons you can keep this in the fridge for a few days and grab it as a lunch in a packed container.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil; more for drizzling
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 bunch Tuscan kale, center ribs and stems removed, leaves cut into 1-inch squares
1/4 cup minced shallots

3 medium, trimmed
1 1/4 cups pearl barley or quinoa or wild rice
4 ounces feta, crumbled
2 teaspoons (or more) unseasoned rice vinegar

Directions

  1. Whisk 1/4 cup oil, white wine vinegar, sugar, and orange zest in a large bowl to blend; season with salt and pepper. Add kale and shallots; mix until completely coated. Cover and chill until kale is tender, at least 3 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°. Arrange beets in a small baking dish and drizzle with a little oil. Season with salt and turn beets to coat. Cover with foil. Bake beets until tender when pierced with a thin knife, about 45 minutes. Let cool completely. Peel beets. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces.
  3. Cook barley in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 45 minutes. Drain barley and let cool completely.
  4. Add beets, barley, and feta to kale. Drizzle salad with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons rice vinegar; gently to combine. Season to taste with pepper and more rice vinegar, if desired.

Raw Beet Salad with Carrot and Ginger (Vegan, Gluten Free)

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The sweet, earthy, and delightful crunchy salad is a powerhouse for flavor and nutrients. The lime awakens your palate to the gentle undertone of ginger that carries you away to the Far East. Beets, originally cultivated in the Mediterranean is available in my summer crop share of my CSA. A wonderful jeweled root vegetable, much like the carrot, just needs to be shredded to release it’s sweet flavor. What’s especially nice about this salad as well is that you can put it through the food processor for a quick salad. This recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman‘s How to Cook Everything who is an expert on getting the most flavors with the simplest ingredients.

Serves 4
Ingredients
1/2 pound small beets without their greens, peeled

1/2 pound carrots, peeled

2 large shallots, finely chopped

1 tablespoon minced ginger

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped


Dressing

2 tablespoons lime juice

1-tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard



Instructions

      1      Grate the beets and the carrots by hand or use a food processor fitted with a grating disk.

      2      Combine the grated beets and carrots with the shallots and ginger in a bowl.

      3      Season salad with salt and pepper.

      4      Whisk together the limejuice, oil and mustard in a small bowl and pour into salad.  Toss salad and taste seasonings. Adjust the seasoning as necessary.

      5      Toss in the cilantro and serve.

Roasted Beet Salad in Orange Dressing (vegan, gluten free)

My Grandmother would be proud of me…. and even my mother, because I have made a beet salad with zero waste, like in the old country where every bit of an ingredient was used. Not only do I love the beets deep red hue, and their sweetness, but I really get a kick out of using the whole vegetable, root and the greens. In this salad the beets along with the greens were used and for the dressing, the orange zest along with the oranges were used as well.

One of the things I noticed about roasting root vegetables is that it really brings out the sweetness of the vegetables. Take for example, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes and for this salad… beets. You can forgo boiling beets by roasting them in foil and avoid the mess that comes with the red staining on the pots.

Adapted from Bon Appétit, January 2004

Ingredients:
6 medium beets with beet greens attached
2 medium oranges
1 small red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut the greens from beets. Remove and discard stems. Chop the leaves coarsely and set them aside. Wrap each beet in foil. Place beets directly on oven rack and roast for about 1 hour, until tender when pierced with fork.
  2. Let beets cool. Peel beets and then cut each into 8 wedges. Place beets in medium bowl.
  3. Cook beet greens in large saucepan of boiling water just until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and cool. When greens are at room temperature, squeeze them to remove excess moisture. Add greens to bowl with beets.
  4. Zest the orange, then cut peel and white pith from oranges. Working over another bowl and using a paring knife, cut between membranes to release segments (this is called supreming).
  5. Add orange segments and onion to bowl with beet mixture.
  6. Whisk oil, garlic, orange zest in small bowl to blend; add to beet mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Serve.