February 19th, 2009


Wholesome Pearl Barley and Beetroot Salad

Warm or cold;starter,main course or accompaniment, this recipe ticks all these boxes. It’s one of my favourite salads, it’s healthy and absolutely delicious. I make this dish in the summer to serve with a family BBQ or during the winter, slightly warm, with slow roasted shoulder of lamb.

My secret spice for this dish is sumac, which gives a slightly sour taste on the pallet and so complements the beetroot. The toasted sunflower seeds adds a gentle crunch to the salad andI like the different textures it offers. This dish is almost like a beautiful song, harmonious and well balanced.

I use a solution of vinegar, sugar, salt and oil to macerate the raw beetroot. This solution softens the hard fibrous beetroot. Macerating the beetroot means that no cooking is required, this keeps the fresh flavour of the beetroot.

Wholesome Pearl Barley and Beetroot Salad

  • 300g pearl barley
  • 50g toasted sunflower seeds
  • 40g sugar snap peas
  • 10g flat leaf parsley
  • 40g spring onions
  • salt and pepper
  • 1tsp ground sumac
  • 25ml olive oil
  • 2tsp lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon

Rinse the pearl barley under cold water, transfer the pearl barley to a large saucepan and cover the pearl barley with cold water, do not add any salt at this stage.

Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the pearl barley for approximately 20 minutes until soft but still holds it’s shape. Add salt right at the end of the cooking time.

Drain the pearl barley in a colander and rinse with cold water, let the pearl barley drain.

Place the pearl barley in a large mixing bowl add the olive oil, seasoning, ground sumac, toasted sunflower seeds, lemon juice and zest.

Rough chop the parsley, slice the spring onions and sugar snap peas. Mix all the ingredients together, set-aside until serving.

macerated_beetroot1Macerated Beetroot

  • 2 whole raw beetroot, peeled
  • 25ml sherry vinegar
  • 1tsp unrefined caster sugar
  • 1tsp honey
  • sprig of fresh thyme
  • 1tbs olive oil
  • course sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

The beetroot needs to marinade in the liquid for a minimum of 2 hours before using.

The vinegar and salt help soften and brake down the beetroot,  a form of pickling.

I normally make the 'beetroot' a few days in advance and keep it in a clean airtight container in the fridge.

Peel the beetroot, use a mandolin to finely slice the raw beetroot 1mm thick, and do not slice the beetroot too thick.

Mix the rest of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and add the raw sliced beetroot, be generous with the seasoning. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours before using.

Makes 6 – 8 portions

Food Fanatics Tip
There are many different mandolins on the market. My preference is known as a Japanese mandolin that is wider than standard as so you can do so much more with it. Take extra care when using the mandolin and watch you fingers.

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One Comment to “Wholesome Pearl Barley and Beetroot Salad”

  1. looks and sounds v nice

    how long will the mascerated beet stay good? (looking for a way to pickle beets which does not involve boiling ((which loses so much of the swteeness I like))

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