You know me, I like a salad anytime of year! Lots of classic flavour combos and textures going on in this simple and nourishing winter salad. Sweet apple and roasted winter roots, crunch of toasted hazelnut and the rich and zesty roasted garlic yoghurt dressing.
With all those bright seasonal colours, it’s a bit of a looker too and something bright for the eyes and taste buds, to get enlivened in the festive times.
Jane’s working hard at the minute and challenged me to make something that was substantial but not stodgy, we seem to have been eating a load of stodge of late. Feels good when we’re eating by the fire to fill our bellies with big plates of rich stews and pies with mounds of potatoes, but we’re not exactly sprightly afterwards! Maybe that’s what winter is about though. Taking it easy and going with the flow of the season. Chilling out!!
I think a tray of roasted veggies is one of the most satisfying things you can do with an oven and winter roots offer up so many tantalising combinations. It amazes me that nature is so kind to us, putting all those nutrients and colours beneath the soil, pre-packed, giving us all we need through the long winters.
I like to roast at least two trays of veg and keep stocked up for a couple of days. Make a quick soup, add to a stew/ curry, or mix with grains like we do here. They’re just ideal things to have hanging out in the fridge. I encourage you to double these quantities and roast away!
I know that pearl barley has slipped out of most peoples cupboards, other grains will also be great. Something hearty like buckwheat would be really nice to try, wild rice, millet is one of my favs (all those gluten free too) as well as freekeh (well worth a try). Good full flavoured grains.
Barley has that lovely chewy, nuttiness and is also really filling and inexpensive. It’s the ideal winter grain for the UK! I like to cook a mixture of wholegrains in a pan together, millet, quinoa and buckwheat are my staple for whole grain salads. The flavours a knockout, especially when the grains are toasted in a dry pan for 5 minutes before adding any water.
Whole grains are one of the cornerstones of our diet in the BHK, we definitely wouldn’t get very far without them. We tend to eat them for two meals a day on average, ranging from oats to amaranth, faro to freekeh, we love ’em all. Whole grains are super foods, nutritional powerhouses and give our body an amazing source of slow release energy, the ideal fuel for us wrapped up in little, easy-to-cook grains.
I would serve this on Christmas day, it would be especially good in the evening, when we want something tasty, but a little lighter. You can serve it on a large platter and it will look amazing! A real centre piece.
This salad can be served hot or cold. It’s nice to plate it up and then pop it back in the oven to warm for a while.
Use any range of winter root veg you like here, squash and parsnip would be nice added to this recipe for example. Even potatoes would be awesome
I’m not sure if you’ve ever put lemon on a radish before, check out the transformation. They get even pinker and the pink leeches and they just look incredible.
If you don’t have fresh thyme, go for other wintery herbs like fresh rosemary or sage.
Roasted Winter Vegetable Salad
The Bits – For 2 as main
100g pearl barley (rinsed in a colander)
2 large beetroots (chopped into wedges)
1 large carrots (thickly sliced)
2 small red onions (chopped into wedges)
6 cloves garlic (whole, skin on)
2 tbs rapeseed or any cooking oil
2 radish (finely sliced)
1 apple (cored and cut into wedges)
1 big handful kale (chopped)
30g hazelnuts (roasted)
3 tbs fresh thyme leaves
1 lemon (juice)
1 teas rapeseed/olive oil
5 tbs unsweetened soya yoghurt
Place your rinsed pearl barley in a saucepan and cover with plenty of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 45 mins – 1 hour.
Preheat an oven to 220oC. Place your beetroot, carrot and red onion on a baking tray and toss in a little oil and salt. Roast for 40 minutes, turning everything at least once. Take out the garlic after about 20 minutes, when its nice and soft. The hazelnuts will take around 5-10 minutes to roast on a tray in a hot oven.
Toss your apple half the thyme leaves and your radish in a bowl with the juice of half the lemon.
In a bowl, take the skins off your garlic and mash with the back of a spoon, squeeze in half the lemon, a little salt and the yoghurt. Mix well together.
When your pearl barley is cooked, toss in the kale and stir, cook for a minute and then drain in a colander, pouring over cold water to cool the grains and kale fully. Alternatively, serve it warm if you prefer.
Arrange the pearl barley on two plates, top with the apples and radish, then the roasted veggies, before spooning over the yoghurt dressing and finishing the dish with a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves and hazelnuts.
Barley is a great source of minerals and fibre and it may also lower cholesterol.