Beet Salad with Barley, Goat Cheese, Arugula & Mint

by formerchef on April 22, 2009

Post image for Beet Salad with Barley, Goat Cheese, Arugula & Mint

A couple of weeks ago when we were at A 16 in San Francisco we had a wonderful “Roasted Beets with Full Belly Farm Farro Salad, roasted cipolline, mint & ricotta salata.” I said at the time, “I’m going to have to make this.”

Fast forward and I’m roaming the sad, pathetic, small Farmer’s Market in my neighborhood and I see some beets and think “now’s the time to make that salad!”
Of course, I forget that I don’t have farro, cipolline or ricotta salata at home. So it’s use-what-you-have time to make a beet salad.

My process:
I have barley. That’s a grain. Ok, it’s not Farro, but it will work.
I have Mint and Arugula (also in the inspiration salad) in my garden so I’ll throw that in along with a few springs of fresh Thyme.
Ricotta Salata? No such luck, but I have that log o’ goat cheese I always seem to have so that will have to do.
But what about the onions, you ask? Don’t,  I completely forgot about them.

Beet Salad with Barley, Goat Cheese, Arugula & Mint Recipe

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1/2 cup Barley
2 1/4 cups water or chicken stock
2 large beets
1/2 Cup Arugula
2 oz. Goat Cheese, crumbled
3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Champagne (or any white wine) Vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Fresh Mint-chopped, 1 Tbsp.
Fresh Thyme-chopped, 1/2 Tbsp.

To Cook the Barley:
In a small pot, cook the barley until tender (taste it, it should be soft enough to eat, but not mushy) in water or chicken stock. Watch carefully as the liquid may evaporate. You can add more liquid  in 1/4 cup increments as needed. When done, let cool. Barley can be cooked in advance one day. Store covered in the refrigerator.

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To cook the beets:
Pre-heat oven to 350. Wrap the fresh, cleaned beets in a foil package tightly and roast in the oven for 45 min-1 hour. Do not cut the beets first or all the juice will run out when they cook. When done, and cool enough to handle, peel off the skin of the beets. Hint; wear latex gloves unless you want your hands to be “beet red.” Cut the beets into 1″ x 1/2″ pieces. This step can be done in advance one day. Store covered in the refrigerator.

To make the salad:
In a medium sized bowl, mix together the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Toss in the cooked, sliced beets. Toss in the barley, arugula and herbs. Add in the goat cheese last, or just garnish on top to keep it from turning pink.

Recipe Note; I mixed the barley in with the beets and let it sit a few minutes as I did something else.  Of course, it turned pink almost immediately from the beet juice. If you want, try making a little more vinaigrette separately and dressing the barley. Add it in last and it may not pick up as much color.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Myra April 22, 2009 at 6:15 pm

When I saw the pink barley, I decided to make this for dinner. Since I also used what I had in the kitchen, I made a few substitutions: dried thyme, spring mix and herb feta. It was colorful, light and satisfying. I loved the combination of beets and mint. Even my kids nibbled off my plate; the pink intrigued them. I will definitely make this again.

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2 formerchef April 22, 2009 at 8:39 pm

Good for you for trying the substitutions. The feta is a great choice.

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3 Mom April 22, 2009 at 8:09 pm

You could use bulgar too–be even quicker to put together..I think this is a pretty modular salad…

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4 formerchef April 22, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Yes, just about any grain would work. I’d like to try the farro sometime too.

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