Winter Salad: Barley & Butter Bean

Posted on January 3, 2011

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Diets are on everyone’s minds in January. After a month of naughty treats and yet more months of cold weather, the thought of salads is often not appealing!

However, I think there is still a place for a rustic, healthy salad in these cold winter months.

The trick, I believe, is to bulk salads out with grains, beans & pulses and serve with interesting dressings to liven things up. Also, chunkier salads lend themselves to being served warm, which helps to justify their place on a winter table. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be sharing some of my favourite salads, like this one which I’ve adapted from January’s top cookbook ‘Feasts’ by Silvena Rowe. If you’re looking for inspiration in the meantime though, have a look at LEON & Ottolenghi.

The other benefit of winter salads is that they are a bit more robust for taking to work and having healthy homemade lunches, which should help to keep any diets on track!

The dressing that accompanies this recipe is tangy beetroot and yoghurt. It’s not essential, but it does add great colour and flavour. If beetroot isn’t your thing, I would suggest a simple dressing of lemon juice, olive oil & seasoning.

Barley & Butter Bean Salad with Beetroot Dressing

100g barley (uncooked weight), 2 beetroots (I use ready prepared beetroot in vacuum packs), 1 garlic clove (crushed), 100ml natural yoghurt, 70g walnuts, 400g (1 tin) butter beans (drained), 50g sultanas, 2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley (chopped), 1 tbsp fresh thyme (chopped), 200g salad leaves, salt & pepper

Rinse the barley and boil for 20 minutes. Whilst barley is boiling, make the dressing. First wizz 20g walnuts into a fine powder in a food processor. Add to this the beetroot, garlic and yoghurt and process until smooth. Pour dressing into a bowl and set to one side. To assemble the salad, place the butter beans, chopped herbs, remaining walnuts, cooked barley and sultanas into a bowl and toss to combine. Spread some salad leaves onto a plate, add generous spoonfuls of the butter bean mix over the top and drizzle with the beetroot dressing (serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main meal).

Enjoy,

Helen x

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