If you aren't a fan of barley, or don't have any, you could easily make this with a different grain instead. Quinoa comes to mind as a nice alternative. I had intended to add sweet potato to this too, but then forgot, so that is another variation that could be worth a try.
This is a pretty salad and well-suited to the festive season. It is substantial enough to eat as a main if served in a main-sized portion, but would also work well as a side dish as part of a Christmas selection. I've enjoyed it hot and cold so it is versatile in that regard too.
I found this to keep well for 5 days so it can be made ahead of time without sacrificing flavour.
Barley salad with kale, walnuts, cranberries and an orange-maple dressing
A Christmas worthy salad that is enjoyable hot or cold
Serves 4-6 as a main, or 8-10 as a side
Author: Bite-sized thoughts
For the salad -
1 cup uncooked barley
2 cups kale leaves, shredded
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup walnut halves
For the dressing -
Juice and zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp soy sauce
Place the barley in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to simmering point and simmer, covered, for 1 hour 15 minutes or the barley is tender.
When the barley is cooked, place it in a large serving bowl and add the kale, pepper, cranberries and walnut halves. Mix together.
To make the dressing, whisk together the orange juice, zest, maple syrup and soy sauce and then pour over the salad.
Serve hot or cold.
What salads do you like in the holiday season?