Barley with Roasted Squash, Apple and Feta Salad

Photo courtesy Foodland Ontario

While I’m loving barley in soup at this time of year, I’m still love it in salads, such as this one, adapted from Foodland Ontario. Rather than using the faster-to-cook pearled barley, go for the whole grain. You can cook extra and freeze it in portioned labelled containers.

This salad also incorporates the season’s best – apples and squash. But if you like or simply don’t want to go to the trouble of peeling and cutting up the squash, check out the new frozen varieties which are incredibly convenient. You can now find diced or spiralized squash in your supermarket’s freezer case.

As for apple varieties, go for your favourite and savour the crunch of a newly harvested one.

Be smart about apple storage
You have likely heard that apples are wonderful for ripening produce. You put the fruit or vegetable, such as an avocado or a tomato, that you want to ripen more quickly into a paper bag with an apple.  Apples release ethylene which hastens ripening. That’s the good part about ethylene.

The bad news is is that if you store apples with other produce, it can hasten spoilage. So while the best place to store apples is your refrigerator, be sure to keep them in a closed container or bag.

As well we’ve all heard the saying one apple can spoil the whole bunch. That means if you have a bruised fruit or one that has spoiled, be sure to remove it from the container of apples.

Enjoy this salad and while the recipe calls for ingredients from Ontario, use those that are local to wherever you are.

Barley with Roasted Squash, Apple and Feta Salad

Makes 8 side servings

1/2 cup hulled or pot barley (or 1 ½ cups cooked)
3 cups bite-size pieces Ontario Butternut Squash
1 Ontario Leek (white and light green parts only) sliced into 1/2-inch) rounds
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 tsp drained and rinsed capers, coarsely chopped
1 Ontario Apple, cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) pieces
1/2 cup crumbled Ontario Feta Cheese
3 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh Ontario Mint
Freshly ground black pepper

In large pot of salted water; cook barley until tender, about 45 to 50 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain well again. Place in medium bowl.
In medium bowl, toss squash, leek, 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil, thyme and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each of the salt and pepper. Spread on large parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roast in 425°F (220°C) oven, stirring once halfway through cooking, until squash is fork tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven to cool.

In large bowl, whisk vinegar with remaining oil, salt and pepper. Stir in barley, squash mixture and capers. Just before serving, stir in apple, feta and mint. Sprinkle with pepper. Salad can be refrigerated up to 2 days.

Nutrition information per serving:
• Calories: 160
• Protein: 3 grams
• Fat: 7 grams
• Carbohydrate: 22 grams
• Dietary fibre: 3 grams
• Sodium: 280 milligrams

Tags: , , , , , ,

Categories: Recipes, Whole Foods

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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