Harvest Bowl Salad

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Healthy January continues to go well in Herbivores’ Heaven HQ.  I’m exploring a couple of new cookbooks and making plenty of comforting soups and hearty stews, perfect for gloomy lunch hours and dark evenings.  And of course, I’m tucking into some satisfying salads as well.  When I was young I hated salads, and I’m still loathe to order one in a restaurant, even knowing that it will be substantial and tasty.  But at least now I think they make for a cracking packed lunch, and with Salad Samurai on my bookshelf I have a lot of good options to choose from.  It’s one of those cookbooks that is organised by season – thanks to globalisation I rarely think about availability of veg as dependent on season, but it’s nice to have a whole chapter of warming and robust winter and autumn dishes, while flicking dreamily through the summer pages and imagining what it’s like to actually go outside during daylight.

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This salad is very filling and very tasty.  Initially I was a little daunted by the ingredients list and fearful that there would be too many different elements competing for the limelight.  But in fact everything works together beautifully, and the cranberries and sprouts give it a nice festive feel which always brightens things up.  The recipe doesn’t need much tweaking, except for cooking the sprouts first – otherwise they’re pretty tough on the jaw!

I hope everyone is having a happy and healthy start to 2015!

Harvest Bowl Salad

Serves 2, generously, slightly adapted from Salad Samurai

Ingredients:

1+1/4 cups vegetable stock

1/2 cup pearl barley

Mushrooms:

2 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed and discarded

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup white win/vegetable stock

2 tbsp tamari

pinch dried oregano

Dressing:

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Salad:

1/2 pound Brussel sprouts, boiled/steamed and shredded

4 spring onions, chopped

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

2 tbsp chopped fresh chives

Method:

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1.  In a pan, bring the stock to the boil and add the barley.  Boil for two minutes, then turn down the heat and simmer for 40-50 minutes.

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2.  When the liquid has all been absorbed and the grains are tender, remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the rest of the salad.

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3.  Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add the mushrooms, gill-side down.  Sear for two minutes, then flip and sear for one more minute on the other side.

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4.  Flip the mushrooms back to gill-side down and add the wine, tamari and oregano to the pan.  Bring to the boil, partially cover the pan and reduce the heat.  Cook until the liquid has been absorbed – keep an eye on it, it won’t take long!

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5.  In a large bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.

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6.  Add the cooked, shredded sprouts, the spring onions, cranberries and walnuts.  Stir to coat them in the dressing.

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7.  Stir in the warm barley.

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8.  Slice the mushrooms into thick slices.

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9.  Spoon the barley into bowls and top with the mushroom slices, a sprinkling of chives and a good grinding of black pepper.

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