Barley, Beets & Arugula Salad

Woof, what a weekend. Between the warmer weather, birthdays and Cinco de Mayo, it’s been a nonstop drink-eat-repeat fest. Not that I’m complaining; I’ll take any occasion as a reason to celebrate with food and drink. And it seems that these random occasions pop up more and more frequently as the weather warms up. (i.e. it’s over 65 degrees? Let’s drink to that!)

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With more birthdays, graduations, and summer holidays on the horizon, it doesn’t look like this drink-eat-repeat routine is going to slow down anytime soon. While I’d love to be able to consume what I please with abandon, you’ve gotta strike a balance somewhere, especially with beach season creeping up soon (yikes!).

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So today I bring you a Barley, Beets & Arugula salad. I know, sounds like such a typical Monday recipe: boring, healthy, blah blah. But I promise you this salad has SO much flavor from the orange vinaigrette and a salty punch from the ricotta salata. Plus, the barley is filling and satisfying, so you won’t need to snack all afternoon. This makes great leftovers, so brown bag this salad for lunch this week and you’ll feel all the more deserving of that birthday cake/froyo/cocktail/pizza/all of the above come Friday!

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Barley, Beets & Arugula Salad

makes 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

1/4 cup plus a little extra for drizzling

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 tbsp light brown sugar

1/2 tsp freshly grated orange zest

kosher salt, ground black pepper to taste

1 large bunch arugula (or one bag)

1 large shallot, minced

4-6 precooked or canned beets, sliced into rounds

1 1/4 cups barley

5 oz ricotta salata, crumbled

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1. Boil barley according to package directions. (I used one bag of Trader Joe’s quick cooking barley, which only takes 10-15 minutes to cook). Drain and let cool.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, white wine vinegar, brown sugar, and orange zest. Season with salt and pepper. Add in arugula and shallots. Toss to coat in the dressing.

3. Add cooled barley, beets, and ricotta salata to the arugula. Drizzle with rice wine vinegar and another tablespoon or so of olive oil. Toss to combine and serve cold or at room temperature.

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