Now that summer is officially here and the weather is indeed getting hotter, we're putting a lot of cool pasta and grain salads on the menu for lunch and dinner! This recipe is a variation on the Roasted Beet and Barley Salad we enjoyed so much last summer. It uses sweet golden beets and adds a little green for good measure.
Golden beets are sweeter and less earthy-tasting than the red beets with which we're most familiar. They're good for getting reluctant beet-eaters hooked! You cook them just as you would red beets, and as a bonus, they won't stain your hands purple.
You can also substitute beet greens, kale, or any other hearty green for the chard.
Golden Beet and Barley Salad with Rainbow Chard
Makes about 5 cups
1 cup dry pearl barley
4 medium beets, tops removed
1 bunch white or rainbow chard, washed
3 Tablespoons lemon juice, divided
1/2 large red onion (about 1 cup), minced and soaked in cold water for 1/2 hour
4 ounces feta, crumbled
4-5 scallions, sliced into fine rounds
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
salt and pepper to taste
extra sliced scallions for garnish
Heat the oven to 450-degrees.
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add the barley and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the barley is al dente, about 30 minutes. If there is extra liquid in the pot, drain the barley and return it to the pan. Cover with a clean dishtowel until ready to use.
Loosely wrap the beets in tin foil and roast in the oven until they are just fork tender--30 - 45 minutes. Peel and dice the beets into 1-inch cubes.
Meanwhile, prepare the chard. Strip off the leaves and slice them into ribbons. Cut the stems into bite-sized pieces.
Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the chard stems until they start to turn translucent around the edges. Add the ribboned chard leaves, half of the lemon juice (1 1/2 tablespoons), and a healthy pinch of salt. Cover and cook the chard until it is bright green and has wilted down, stirring occasionally (about 8 minutes). If the pan is very dry, add a few tablespoons of water so the chard can keep steaming.
Drain the red onion. Combine barley, beets, chard, red onion, feta, and scallions in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the remaining lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and drizzle this vinaigrette over the salad. Stir to evenly coat all the ingredients.
Taste the mixture. As needed, add salt 1/4 teaspoon at a time. Pepper to taste.
Serve family-style in a large bowl or in individual bowls. Garnish with extra scallions.
(Images: Emma Christensen for the Kitchn)