In the meantime, we will be exploring a lot more vegetarian meal options as we make the transition to being occasional meat (and fish) eaters. So, I decided to kick off with the advent of "No Meat Mondays" in our house. Every Monday, we will refrain from eating meat and enjoy a cornucopia of fruit and vegetables, legumes, grains and nuts. I will be sharing some of the vegetarian offerings here for you to try and will be experimenting along the way. I'm sure that my vego mates will be glad that there will be a lot more on offer for them here at Gourmet Goddess, as I try to redress the balance a little.
So, to today's recipe - a warm roasted vegetable and barley salad. Vegetarian or not, you will love the gorgeous flavours in this dish, chock full of veges and the lovely nutty taste of barley. Add a pile of fresh herbs and a tangy dressing and you have a flavoursome and satisfying vegetarian dinner dish. I love barley and decided that I didn't just want to save it for soup in winter. It works really well in this salad. I actually cooked the barley the day before so that assembling Monday night dinner would be quicker and easier. I cooked double the amount and have frozen the rest for when I want to make this again - which I will, it was delicious!
Feel free to use whatever veges take your fancy, although I recommend that you include pumpkin and onion - they added a delicious richness to the salad that it would be a shame to miss out on. Next time I also plan to throw in some blanched beans and maybe some toasted almonds. Experiement with whatever you have around. No meat Mondays ahoy!!!
Warm Roasted Vegetable & Barley Salad
You will need: 1 cup dry pearl barley, 1 red onion chopped roughly, 1/2 cup roughly chopped continental parsley, 1/2 cup roughly chopped coriander, 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint, about 6 cups vegetables chopped into pieces around 4cm square (I used a selection of pumpkin,zucchini, mushroom and red pepper), olive oil, salt and pepper.
For the dressing: 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 clove garlic crushed or pureed, 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar, squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper to taste.
Method: Rinse the barley well under cold water. Strain and then boil in a pot of unsalted water until tender. Rinse and drain well and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Combine all of the vegetables (not the herbs) and the onion in a bowl with a generous splash of olive oil and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Mix well until all of the vegetables are coated.
Put the veges on a baking tray lined with baking paper and cook until they are soft and tender. Mine took around 40 minutes. Turn them occasionally during the cooking process. When done, remove from the oven and allow them to cool a little for about 10 minutes.
Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients (or do what I do and make it in a jar, that way you just have to give it a good shake and you are in business) Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Gently combine the barley, vegetables and herbs with the dressing. Try not to smash up the soft vegetables too much - you want some nice chunks in there.
Serve with some extra fresh herbs on the top.
Serves 4-6 people.