Golden Beet and Barley Salad with Rainbow Chard
Serves 8 to 10 (makes about 10 cups)
- 4 medium golden beets, tops removed (see Recipe Note)
- 1 cup dry pearl barley
- 1/2 large red onion, minced (about 1 cup)
- 1 bunch (about 1 pound) rainbow chard
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 lemon, divided
- 4 ounces feta, crumbled, plus extra for serving
- 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oven to 450°F. Loosely wrap the beets in foil and roast them in the oven until they are just fork tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Let cool enough to handle, then peel and dice the beets into 1/2-inch cubes.
Meanwhile, cook the barley. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the barley and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the barley is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the barley and return it to the pan. Cover with a clean dishtowel until ready to use.
Place the onions in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside to soak for at least 30 minutes.
Wash the chard and pat dry, but leave some moisture clinging to the leaves. Strip off the leaves, stack them in a pile, and slice them into 1/2 inch ribbon. Set aside. Dice the stems into small bite-sized pieces and set aside.
Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the diced chard stems with a pinch of salt until they start to turn translucent around the edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the ribboned chard leaves, half of the lemon juice (1 1/2 tablespoons), and a healthy pinch of salt. Continue to cook, stirring gently, until it is bright green and has wilted down, another 4 to 5 minutes. If the pan is very dry, add a few tablespoons of water so the chard can keep steaming.
Drain the red onion from the soaking water. Combine diced beets, cooked barley, chard stems and leaves, and red onion in a large mixing bowl. Let everything cool to room temperature, then stir in the feta. Whisk together the remaining lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and stir to evenly coat all the ingredients.
Taste the mixture. As needed, add salt 1/4 teaspoon at a time. Add pepper to taste.
Serve family-style in a large bowl or in individual bowls with extra feta sprinkled over the top. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for one week.
• If your beets come with their tops still attached, you can substitute them for all or part of the chard.