About a year ago, I stumbled across a lovely recipe posted by a good friend on her blog. It wasn’t vegan, so I modified it slightly to suit my tastes and needs. You can find this recipe on my old website and blog.
Even though I loved it, there was something about it that still tasted off. I couldn’t put my finger (or my tongue) on it. So after making it happily through late-Winter and early Spring, I shelved it, even though the ingredients were readily available throughout summer and fall. I tried it again a few times, but my pregnant tastebuds didn’t enjoy what I once loved. I felt a little spurned.
Then I had a flash of brilliance and a brand new recipe was born.
I think the cabbage adds something that the greens lacked. The cabbage is a little more neutral, which given the barrage of other flavors, is necessary. It’s also a little sturdier, so perfect for a hearty lunchtime meal. This girl transports well, as long as you don’t put the dressing on before you’re ready to eat.
There is a lot of prep in this recipe, but I think it’s worth it. So when you have the time, go for it. If you can make any of this in advance (prepping the veggies, toasting the coconut, soaking the barley), I highly recommend it.
Not much has radically changed from the first recipe, but I personally like this version better. Plus, all the purple is a nice and vibrant way to spice up a sort of boring winter/early spring color palate. Just don’t panic too much when your pee is the same hue the next morning.
Beets, Barley, and Cabbage with a Tangy Mustard Dressing
2 medium beets, well scrubbed (and peeled, if need be) and chopped into small chunks
1 tsp sesame oil
2 cups of purple cabbage, sliced thinly
1 Tbs coconut oil
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup toasted coconut (shredded is best)
1/2 cup barley (pre-soaked will help barley cook faster!)
1 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil or hemp oil
3 Tbs mustard
1 Tbs maple syrup
1.5 Tbs apple cider vinegar
Cook barley in water. It’s best if you can pre-soak the barley because that will reduce your cooking time. However, if you can’t, the barley should take between 30-45 minutes to fully cook.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat the beets in small amount of oil, salt, and pepper (I use sesame oil for this) and cook for 15-20 minutes, until beets are soft. Remove and set aside.
While the beets are cooking, heat the coconut oil in a wok or pan. Add in the cabbage, plus some salt and pepper. Lightly cook until the cabbage has broken down a bit. Should be soft, but retaining a little crunch. Remove the cabbage from the heat and set aside.
Toast shredded coconut until it’s lightly browned.
Do the same with the walnuts, if you like them to have a nuttier flavor.
Finally, make your dressing by whisking all ingredients together in a small measuring cup (the better for pouring). This is the easiest part.
Once everything is ready, divide all ingredients (barley, beets, cabbage, walnuts and coconut) into 2 bowls and add as much dressing as you’d like!