I eat a lot of salads throughout the year, even in the winter. I love all salad ingredients – lettuces, avocados, beets, raw vegetables, grilled meat or fish, some nuts or seeds and cheese… I love to mix them up and also pay great attention to my vinaigrettes.
But then, there’s this one salad I’ve actually made multiple times for friends. (My husband doesn’t eat salads.) I don’t remember the source of the recipe, because mine was a magazine recipe cut and glued to an index card from decades ago.
It’s a composed salad, and these are the ingredients: Barley, purple cabbage, carrots, celery, dried cherries, and feta cheese. Intrigued? I was, and now I’m hooked.
It’s very pretty served layered in a trifle dish, or any deep clear bowl. Each component is treated separately for maximum flavor.
The recipe is really in two parts. One part, the vinaigrette. The other part, the salad itself.
My Favorite Salad
In a small blender, combine
1 cup of good olive oil
1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar
Juice of 2 large lemons
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of Dijon-style mustard
Blend until smooth.
2 cups hulled barley
Grated carrots, about 5 cups
1 whole purple cabbage, thinly sliced, about 5 cups
1/2 head celery, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups dried tart cherries
12 ounces crumbled goat cheese
First prepare the vinaigrette. Set aside at room temperature.
Cook the barley in 4 cups of water or broth if you prefer. Let cool. Once it’s almost room temperature, mix the barley with about 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette and set aside.
Place the grated carrots in a small bowl and add about 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette, stir well, and set aside.
Place the cabbage in a large bowl and toss with about 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette. Have the rest of the ingredients handy.
Place the sliced celery in a smaller bowl and add a tablespoon of vinaigrette. Toss well and set aside.
Layer half of the barley in the bottom of your salad serving bowl or dish. Cover with the celery.
Then add half of the cherries. And top with half of the goat cheese.
Then cover with 1/2 of the cabbage. Then all of the carrots.
Then the remaining barley.
Top off with the last of the dried cherries and goat cheese.
Let the salad sit for at least an hour. Or, make it the day before and refrigerate it overnight, letting all of the flavors meld together. But serve at room temperature.
I also serve this salad with extra vinaigrette for those who want that extra hit of vinegar.
And, if this salad is for those who require protein, it is fabulous with added grilled chicken or avocado.
Mix and match your favorite ingredients – lentils would work instead of barley, for example – and I’m not a huge celery fan, which is why I only allowed one layer of it. But do include the dried cherries and goat cheese!