Barley, Beetroot and Feta Salad is flavoursome and satisfying as a side dish or on its own as a complete meal.
I’ve fallen in love with barley’s nutty taste and texture since my nutrition studies. Before then, it wasn’t a staple in my diet.
However, when I learned that it is high in resistant starch and fibre, which are beneficial for gut health, I decided to give it a try. And I love it!
Thus, it’s now a regular on our menu. And there are many ways to enjoy it.
You can combine it into soups, salads, pilaf and risotto. I use barely in my recipes for Minestrone Soup with Barley and Roast Pumpkin and Barley Risotto. Further, it can be used in grain bowls. See 25 Delicious Grain Bowls and Formula for Easy Grain Bowls for recipe ideas.
My husband often requests Barley, Beetroot and Feta Salad for dinner the night before a marathon event or hard training, as he notices the difference it makes to his endurance. Beetroot is thought to increase blood flow and strengthen muscle contraction.
Whether or not this is the case for my husband, I’m happy to oblige his requests. This is a moreish salad that can be enjoyed on its own or alongside a protein, such as tempeh, fish or chicken.
Barley, Beetroot and Feta Salad
- 4 medium-large fresh beetroots ~750-800 g washed and peeled
- 1 red onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- pinch salt
- ½ cup pearl barley, washed and drained
- 1 ¼ cups water or vegetable stock
- ½ lemon juiced
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- pinch salt
- 100 g spinach or rocket
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds, dry-fried or roasted
- 100 g feta
- 2 tablespoons capers optional
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 180oC.
- Cut beetroot and onion into small wedges and combine with olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
- Place on baking tray and roast for 40-60 minutes, until tender. Stir half-way through cooking.
- While the beetroot is cooking, place barley in a pan with water and bring to a simmer.
- Leave to cook on low, with lid on, until tender and liquid absorbed, about 30-40 minutes. It will still have a ‘nutty’ texture when cooked.
- Drain any excess liquid and combine lemon juice, olive oil and pinch of salt with barley.
- Place spinach or rocket on a large serving plate. Sprinkle with barley, then beetroot, pumpkin seeds, feta and capers. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Enjoy.