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I have a confession to make.

I am in love with leeks right now.  Just like a new relationship, I am enjoying every use of them and having fun discovering their unique flavor profile.  I love that they taste much like an onion with the texture of celery.  I want to use them in every recipe I make.  I am surprised that I just discovered them but feel like I’ve always known them.

I love salads that take you by surprise!  With a barley, quinoa, or farro salad, you can really highlight the combination of flavors and textures with a high fiber, nutritious result.

I made this salad for a large Christmas party, so unfortunately I didn’t get any feedback and didn’t try a lot myself.  I love goat cheese, but in the future I think I would use ricotta salata or an Italian cheese.  I am trying to eat more grains, legumes, and beans for their fiber content so I look forward to experimenting more.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 cups pearled barley
  • 2/3 bunch of Italian kale, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 bunch of basil
  • 1/3 cup of leeks, thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 Meyer lemon juiced
  • 2-4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Prepare the barley according to package instructions.
  2. Preheat oven to 400º F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl combine the kale, red pepper, leek, garlic, 2 Tbs olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spread the vegetable over the parchment paper and bake for 20-30 minutes, tossing once, until tender and golden brown.
  5. When the barley and vegetables cool, combine in a large bowl with the lemon juice.  Add more olive oil if desired.  Break up the basil into chunks and mix, season with more salt and pepper if desired.  Break up the goat cheese over the top of the salad and serve.
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