Barley Kabocha Kale Salad Recipe
Delightful, vibrantly colored and super nourishing main course salad. Equally at home in all seasons, and delicious warm or at room temperature. You will love the texture lineup too!
Barley is Underused!
This magical ancient grain is a nutritional powerhouse : High protein, high fiber, delicious and loaded with minerals. All the way up there with pulses, quinoa and other revered whole grains. The barley crop goes back to biblical times, when it is part of the Sheva Minim of the Holy Land, or Seven Species: Barley, wheat, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.
Why is it that we most often use barley only in cholent or mushroom barley soup, and not much else. This barley kabocha kale salad will change that: it showcases the chewy, nutty and relatively quick cooking little grain, and uses it to best advantage. 40 minutes in all you need to fully cook barley. And while the grain cooks, you have ample time to get the rest of the dish ready.
Barley Kabocha Kale Salad is Very Elastic!
Although Kabocha is my great favorite squash, you can use other kind of squash, whatever is readily available at the produce market. Likewise, other nuts beside cashews (hazelnuts, pecans, pine nuts), other seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, hemp) and other leaves (spinach, Swiss chard) will work perfectly here: mix and match and get another exciting combo each time.
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup pearl barley, preferably organic
- 1 kabocha or butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 bunch kale or Swiss chard, leaves only (discard all leaves or reserve four other uses), cut in thin ribbons
- 1 large shallot, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses or maple syrup
- 2/3 cup chopped cashews or other nuts or seeds, toasted in a 325*f oven for twelve to 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375*f.
Bring water to a boil in a pot. Add the barley, and cook covered on medium flame for about 40 minutes, until soft and all the water is absorbed. Set aside.
Meanwhile mix the butternut squash with the olive oil, brown sugar and cinnamon. Place in one layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until tender.
Rub (massage) the leaves and the oil thoroughly with both hands until completely saturated and softened. This step only takes a minute.
In a mixing bowl, toss the barley with the squash mixture, the leaves mixture, and all remaining ingredients. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: if you are not serving the whole recipe at once, add a portion of the nuts only to the portion of the recipe you are serving, saving the remaining nuts for the remaining salad for the next serving time.