Cooking with Your CSA Box -- Greens!

I love the salad recipe I am sharing with you today because it incorporates all the lovely spring greens that are growing so abundantly right now. I partner those greens with a grain that I find really filling without being too heavy. Barley.
Barley is a grain that I have been cooking whole and using as a base for winter salads with add-ins like roasted veggies, toasted nuts, and even soft-boiled eggs. However, the beauty of Barley is it that it transitions seasons so well.   

Barley comes is commercially available in a few varieties, as hulled whole grains, scotch barley, and pearled, of which most of us are familiar. The process of pearling barley is quite similar to the process used to remove the bran of grains like rice, turning brown rice into white rice. However, barley can be sold lightly pearled or completely pearled, which changes the taste, texture and overall cooking time of the grain. Of course the more pearled the grains of barley are, the less nutritious they are as so many trace elements are contained in the bran which is stripped during this process. Because of this reason, I encourage you to seek out hulled, whole grain barley (sometimes sold as “hulless” or dehulled” barley), scotch barley (in between hulled and pearled) or pearled barley that has only been lightly processed (sold as “lightly pearled” barley). Steer clear of medium to fine pearled barley that is very light in color with little of the brown bran still in tact.

Barley is a fiber superstar. In fact, one cup of barley provides the body with 13.6 grams of fiber
– that’s over half of your daily recommended intake (the same amount of brown rice by comparison, contains only 3.5 grams of fiber). Barley is also known for its high selenium content – an essential trace mineral that is lacking in many of our diets. Not only is selenium needed for thyroid hormone metabolism, antioxidant defense, and immune function, but there are now clear links between selenium and cancer prevention. Selenium has been shown to stimulate DNA repair in damaged cells, to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells, as well as induceapoptosis – our cells’ mechanism for self-destruction when they are abnormal, worn-out, or damaged.

So if you haven't tried Barley before, get out there and make it a staple in your pantry.
I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do! 

Greens and Barley Salad

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups assorted greens, such as arugula, spinach, baby bok choy, endive, radicchio, and or butter lettuce
  • 2 1/4 cups coarsley chopped cauliflower
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into ribbons or just chopped (whatever strikes your fancy)
  • 1 cup cooked barley
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts 
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. paprika 
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Optional add-ins (roasted veggies, cheese, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion and nuts) 

Make this salad your own and use the colors of the rainbow! 

Directions:

  1. Combine the first five ingredients (through walnuts) in a serving bowl. For dressing, in a screw-top jar combine the remaining ingredients. Cover and shake well. Drizzle over salad; toss. Makes 4 servings.