Sunday, November 29, 2009

Barley Spinach Salad with Roasted Cashews and Tamari

We all survived the Thanksgiving feast , we more than likely tinkered with purchases on Black Friday - so now it is time to eat something light and healthy in preparation for the Holiday Season ahead.

I made this salad for clients a few weeks ago and EVERYONE loved it and it is my new go to salad , which even my two girls enjoyed . It is an inspiration from my go to food magazine delicious.

It is made with barley , not the instant 10 minute breakfast deal  but organic pearled barley that takes around 30-40 minutes to cook . But do not be put off by this because you will reap untold benefits for your patience and diligence . It is then loaded with vegetables whose benefits need no explanation , followed by a dressing stunning in its simplicity and taste.

I told my girls that barley is like eating brown rice ( we are all converts to this wonderful grain ) , they love broccoli and they love spinach . It also has sugar snap peas which are delicious steamed and some roasted cashews for crunch . This particular occassion I served it with pork tenderloin sliced and marinated in my own creation of tamari, fresh ginger , garlic and a touch of sweet chili sauce . The secret ingredient for me was the fresh mint , I was pleasantly surprised as to how much  flavour this herb gave the salad and it was the perfect finishing touch .

I have to say this salad stands up well as a room temperature salad , great for upcoming pot luck holiday get togethers - maybe consider some strips of roasted red peppers for an added festive touch  . Excellent vegetarian fare that will even convert die hard carnivores . You can also add any other combination of green you would like or have on hand . Oh..... and it keeps forever in the fridge for as long as you do not eat it !!!

Barley Spinach Salad with Roasted Cashews and Tamari
inspired by Bill Granger

Served 4-6

Salad Ingredients
1 1/4 cups organic pearled Barley
1/2 pound organic brocoli, trimmed and steamed
2 spring onions, thinly slices
2 cups organic baby spinach leaves
2 cups sugar snap peas, steamed
1/2 cup mint leaves, roughly torn
1/2 cup raw cashews , roasted ane then roughly chopped .

Tamari Dressing
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp light tamari ( wheat free soy sauce)
1 1/2 tbsp mirin
1 tsp fresh ginger , finely grated

Cook the pearled barley according to packet directions.

Prepeare oven to 400F/200C and place cashews in a cake tin and roast until lightly brown - this could take anywhere for 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the cashews and you oven . Please judge accordingly.

Trim and steam the broccoli and sugar snap peas and rinse inder cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well .

Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing ans put aside . This could even be made a couple of days in advance to allow the flavours to develop.

In a large bowl toss together the cooled barley,m drained broccolu, sugar snap peas and green onions , toss well to combine then add the torn  mint leaves and dressing and combine well . Allow to stand for 10 minutes to allow flavours to develop.

Enjoy on it own or as a side to some pork , grilled tofu or grilled portabello mushrooms.

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