After a mid October heat wave, it’s feeling a bit more like fall around here. Yesterday is was sunny & a scorching 95. I juiced & ate raw zucchini pasta. It was way too hot to cook! Today is much different, thank goodness. It’s a cool, cloudy, & perfect afternoon to prepare a lovely autumnal meal.
I received a “winter luxury” pumpkin from my CSA (last share before I take a break for a bit) & marveled at all the wonderful possibilities for preparing it. This particular type of pumpkin is perfect for pies, but truth be told, I’m not really a pumpkin pie kind of girl. I thought about a pumpkin curry, & was totally inspired by Jackie’s pumpkin risotto, but in the end I settled on trying something completely different. I’d recently picked up a bag of pearl barley & decided I’d make a grain, pumpkin & greens salad.
To start, I roasted the pumpkin with olive oil, maple syrup, sea salt & pepper.
While the pumpkin was a-roasting, I prepared the pearl barley & a sweet balsamic dijon vinaigrette. Once the barley was al dente & the roasted pumpkin was fragrant & tender, it was time to assemble the salad. I tossed the pumpkin pieces with 3 cups of cooked pearl barley, 1 cup of spinach, 1 cup of arugula & the dressing. I then garnished the salad with pepitas & dried cranberries. Such pretty fall colors!
The sweet & tender pumpkin practically melts in your mouth, while the barley makes it hearty & substantial enough to serve as a main dish. The greens add a wonderful pop of color & freshness, & the sweet balsamic dijon dressing provides a rich depth of flavor.
- "Warm Pumpkin & Pearl Barley Salad"
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 1 winter luxury pumpkin, peeled, cut into 2 inch chunks & roasted
- 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- sea salt & pepper
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 cup arugula
- ½ cup pepitas
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- "Sweet Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette"
- ⅓ cup balsamic glaze (make a reduction or use pre-made glaze from Trader Joe’s like I did!)
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
- Sea salt & pepper to taste
- Pre heat the oven to 450 F.
- Rinse the barley & then boil in a pot with about 3 cups of water for approximately 45 minutes until soft, keep warm.
- In a large bowl, toss pumpkin with olive oil & maple syrup, then transfer to a foil lined baking sheet. Roast for 30-35 minutes until golden, tossing once & rotating half way through.
- Prepare the dressing by whisking the ingredients together until combined.
- When the barley is cooked & the pumpkin is roasted, toss with the spinach, arugula, pepitas, cranberries & dressing.
Warm, colorful & comforting! Perfect on a crisp & cloudy afternoon. I hope the weather stays like this for a while.