Solve your winter salad dilemma with this delicious, healthy and filling beet and grain salad. If pickling beets sounds like too much trouble, freshly grated beets are just as delicious in this salad, while oats and quinoa are good substitutes for the barley.
1 bunch baby beetroots (about 500g; prepare in advance as they take 3-5 days to pickle)
½ cup pearl barley
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds
3 tbsp toasted almonds, chopped
¼ cup raisins
20g baby beetroot leaves
100g soft feta
handful of chervil sprigs
For the pickling liquid
1 cup red wine vinegar
150g brown sugar
2 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp yellow mustard seeds
3 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1. Trim beetroot stalks, leaving 1cm stem on the end. Wash thoroughly. Place in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes (depending on their size). Drain, cool, cut off ends and peel away skins, then cut to desired shape.
2. Place pickling ingredients in a large saucepan with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then set aside and allow to cool slightly. Place cooked beetroot into a large sterilised jar and pour over pickling liquid. Cool, then refrigerate for 3-5 days before using. Will keep for up to 2 weeks.
3. Place barley in a saucepan with 1½ cups water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until soft and chewy. Add more water if needed but when it is done, the barley should have absorbed most, or all, of the water. Leave to sit for 10 minutes. Drain if needed, fluff with a fork to separate grains, and allow to cool completely.
4. Make a dressing from olive oil, lemon and seasoning. In a bowl, combine pearl barley, pumpkin seeds, almonds, raisins and beet leaves, and stir into the dressing.
5. Place this on the base of four plates. Scatter crumbled feta and pickled beetroot on top, then garnish with chervil sprigs.