Warm Balsamic Barley Salad

Tender and chewy barley mingles with ripe tomato, vegan Italian sausage, bright swiss chard, and protein-rich chickpeas. Lightly bathed in a basil-balsamic dressing, this is a beautiful and hearty salad that’s great warm or cold. It tastes even better the following day, which makes it the perfect “make ahead” salad!

Produce On Parade - Warm Balsamic Barley Salad - Tender and chewy barley mingles with ripe tomato, vegan Italian sausage, bright swiss chard, and protein-rich chickpeas. Lightly bathed in a basil-balsamic dressing, this is a beautiful and hearty salad that?s great warm or cold. It tastes even better the following day, which makes it the perfect ?make ahead? salad!

Hey there! How's the midweek going for you? Mine has been really good; kind of busy but in the best way possible. My brother-in-law is visiting us here in Alaska from his college in Vermont to work on a short documentary regarding climate change. Part of that involved the Iditarod. Did you know for two years in a row snow has been carted by train over 350 miles from Fairbanks to Anchorage for the ceremonial start? This year it was shortened from 11 miles to just 3 miles. Pretty scary stuff. We spent the weekend photographing the dogs and Ross used his drone to capture some pretty awesome images. You can see more of his work at his Instagram, under username jrhenry10. Below is a drone shot he took of a musher leaving Willow after the real start (restart) with Denali in the background. 

He has also decided to be completely vegan for a month in response to realizing the effects of animal agriculture on the environment. The single best thing we can do to stop climate change is to stop consuming animal products. Maybe we can get him to be vegan for good? ;) Muahhahaha. If you'd like to learn more about the environment and how drastically it's affected by animal agriculture, check out the infographic at the very bottom of this post; it's one of the best I've seen yet.

As far as eating is concerned, humans are the most stupid animals on the planet. We kill billions of wild animals to protect the animals that we eat. We are destroying our environment to feed the animals we eat. We spend more time, money and resources fattening up the animals that we eat, than we do feeding humans who are dying of hunger. The greatest irony is that after all the expenses of raising these animals, we eat them; and they kill us slowly. And rather than recognize this madness, we torture and murder millions of other animals trying to find cures to diseases caused by eating animals in the first place.
— Mike Anderson
Produce On Parade - Warm Balsamic Barley Salad - Tender and chewy barley mingles with ripe tomato, vegan Italian sausage, bright swiss chard, and protein-rich chickpeas. Lightly bathed in a basil-balsamic dressing, this is a beautiful and hearty salad that?s great warm or cold. It tastes even better the following day, which makes it the perfect ?make ahead? salad!
Produce On Parade - Warm Balsamic Barley Salad - Tender and chewy barley mingles with ripe tomato, vegan Italian sausage, bright swiss chard, and protein-rich chickpeas. Lightly bathed in a basil-balsamic dressing, this is a beautiful and hearty salad that?s great warm or cold. It tastes even better the following day, which makes it the perfect ?make ahead? salad!

With the excitement and yearning for Todd and I to hang out with Ross instead of cooking, I've been turning to quick and easy dishes. Basically, my veg from the CSA box and any grain that tickles my fancy that day (or whatever I have left in the pantry). Along with fresh herbs (thanks to my Aerogarden), vegan sausage from the freezer, and some canned chickpeas this salad was among my favorite meals of the week! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Produce On Parade - Warm Balsamic Barley Salad - Tender and chewy barley mingles with ripe tomato, vegan Italian sausage, bright swiss chard, and protein-rich chickpeas. Lightly bathed in a basil-balsamic dressing, this is a beautiful and hearty salad that?s great warm or cold. It tastes even better the following day, which makes it the perfect ?make ahead? salad!

Warm Balsamic Barley Salad

Kathleen Henry @ Produce On Parade

Published 03/08/2016

Tender and chewy barley mingles with ripe tomato, vegan Italian sausage, bright swiss chard, and protein-rich chickpeas. Lightly bathed in a basil-balsamic dressing, this is a beautiful and hearty salad that’s great warm or cold. It tastes even better the following day, which makes it the perfect “make ahead” salad!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pearled barley, dry
  • 3 cups water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Italian Field Roast sausages, diced
  • 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small bunch of swiss or red chard, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • ½ tbsp soy sauce
  • Pinch of salt, to taste
  • Dash of black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chiffonade (optional)
  • Garnish of broccoli sprouts or microgreens (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan, bring the barley, water, and a pinch of salt to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cover; cook for about 30-45 minutes until the barley is tender and chewy. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the barley cooks, heat the olive oil over medium-low in a large rimmed frying pan. Add the sausage, tomato, and chard; saute for about 5 minutes until the chard has wilted. Stir in the remaining ingredients excluding the fresh basil and sprouts; cook for an additional 5 minutes to warm the chickpeas.
  3. Once the barley is done cooking, stir it into the chickpea mixture to combine. Serve the salad warm or cold and topped with fresh basil and sprouts. This salad is even better the following day!

Yield: 4

Anouk - Produce On Parade

Anouk (ann-uhk) says hello! Isn't he the cutest? It's really strange having a small dog as I've always grew up with large dogs and let's be honest... Bob is pretty much the size of small pony with giraffe legs. I love the pink little butterfly on his nose too! It's very saddening that just about every week I discover a new scar on him somewhere. He has a little Alfalfaesc hair tuft on the very top of his head that I am always trying to smooth down; yesterday I realized there's a big scar underneath and that's why the surrounding hair doesn't lay flat *sad face*. He's only eight months! How could anyone hurt a little puppy? However, it warms my heart to know he's in a safe and loving home now *happy face*!

Produce On Parade - Warm Balsamic Barley Salad - Tender and chewy barley mingles with ripe tomato, vegan Italian sausage, bright swiss chard, and protein-rich chickpeas. Lightly bathed in a basil-balsamic dressing, this is a beautiful and hearty salad that?s great warm or cold. It tastes even better the following day, which makes it the perfect ?make ahead? salad!

If you've been vegan for a while you've probably found yourself wondering how on earth your veggie laden entree is the same price as it's meaty counterpart. This article from Serious Eats helps you understand why. Still doesn't answer why we can't catch a break on holding off on the cheese and meats on pizza though... 

Ranch Pitas w/ Roasted Potatoes & Chickpeas

This is a super easy and perfect way to use up those russet potatoes you found in the back of the cupboard that might have started sprouting (guilty!) The roasted chickpeas add a wonderful little crunch, and the homemade ranch dressing lends a nostalgic creaminess, all cozied up in a soft, warm pita! 

Produce On Parade- Ranch Pitas w/ Roasted Potatoes & Chickpeas - This is a super easy and perfect way to use up those russet potatoes you found in the back of the cupboard that might have started sprouting (guilty!) The roasted chickpeas add a wonderful little crunch, and the homemade ranch dressing lends a nostalgic creaminess, all cozied up in a soft, warm pita!

Thank you all for your support on my cookbook announcement and for the birthday wishes. You're all so incredibly sweet and kind. It's been a crazy few months over here, but in a good way. Todd and I just found out that we will be able to secure the builder we wanted for our house as well!  Hopefully, we'll be excavating in just a few weeks. Hurray! Are there any things you wish you had known when you built, bought, or renovated your home?

Between the house, the book, and a full-time job...whew doggy...some things can fall to wayside. Namely hair-brushing, using makeup, and my running regime. Do I look like a scraggly, homeless chef most days? Maybe. Some things though have been on the upswing though! Mostly my chocolate consumption...

Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve.
— Mary Kay Ash
Produce On Parade- Ranch Pitas w/ Roasted Potatoes & Chickpeas - This is a super easy and perfect way to use up those russet potatoes you found in the back of the cupboard that might have started sprouting (guilty!) The roasted chickpeas add a wonderful little crunch, and the homemade ranch dressing lends a nostalgic creaminess, all cozied up in a soft, warm pita!

Potatoes hiding in the back of the cupboard that were about to start sprouting. Fresh spinach from my CSA box. Chickpeas taking up residence in the fridge after I used the liquid from the can (to make vegan meringue). That's basically how I came up with these drop dead delicious pitas. I was thinking of what could tie it all together and a homemade ranch was just the ticket! Just look how scrumptious! Comfort food! 

Produce On Parade- Ranch Pitas w/ Roasted Potatoes & Chickpeas - This is a super easy and perfect way to use up those russet potatoes you found in the back of the cupboard that might have started sprouting (guilty!) The roasted chickpeas add a wonderful little crunch, and the homemade ranch dressing lends a nostalgic creaminess, all cozied up in a soft, warm pita!

Ranch Pitas w/ Roasted Potatoes & Chickpeas

Recipe by Kathleen Henry @ Produce On Parade

This is a super easy and perfect way to use up those russet potatoes you found in the back of the cupboard that might have started sprouting (guilty!) The roasted chickpeas add a wonderful little crunch, and the homemade ranch dressing lends a nostalgic creaminess, all cozied up in a soft, warm pita!

Yield: 4 pitas

Ingredients

  • 3 medium russet potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed (save the liquid for vegan meringue!)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ cup vegan mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh celery leaves, chopped
  • ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • ½ tsp mustard (I use stoneground)
  • ¼ tsp dried dill
  • ¼ tsp dried tarragon
  • 4-5 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 4 soft pitas
  • ¼ cup sprouts or microgreens, optional

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F and line a large baking sheet (or two smaller ones) with parchment paper.
  2. Dry off the potatoes and chickpeas and place in a medium bowl with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir well to coat and transfer to the baking sheet, roast for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes are golden-brown. Flip the taters halfway through and give the chickpeas a shake.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo through and including the tarragon to make the ranch dressing. Place the spinach in a medium bowl and stir in the dressing.
  4. To serve, warm the pitas for about 20 seconds in the microwave. Divide the spinach evenly between the four pitas and top with a few wedges of potato, chickpeas, and sprouts each. Serve warm. There might be a few remaining potato wedges leftover, which are great with a bit of ketchup!
Produce On Parade- Ranch Pitas w/ Roasted Potatoes & Chickpeas - This is a super easy and perfect way to use up those russet potatoes you found in the back of the cupboard that might have started sprouting (guilty!) The roasted chickpeas add a wonderful little crunch, and the homemade ranch dressing lends a nostalgic creaminess, all cozied up in a soft, warm pita!
Produce On Parade- Ranch Pitas w/ Roasted Potatoes & Chickpeas - This is a super easy and perfect way to use up those russet potatoes you found in the back of the cupboard that might have started sprouting (guilty!) The roasted chickpeas add a wonderful little crunch, and the homemade ranch dressing lends a nostalgic creaminess, all cozied up in a soft, warm pita!

Dutch Word of The Day

Potato --> aardappel (ard-apple)

Information of The Day

"Back in April 2012, the Food and Drug Administration launched an effort to address a problem that had been festering for decades: the meat industry's habit of feeding livestock daily low dose of antibiotics, which keeps animals alive under stressful conditions and may help them grow faster, but also generates bacterial pathogens that can shake off antibiotics, and make people sick." (Mother Jones) Between 2009 and 2013, use of medically important drugs used in livestock grew 20%.

CDC

CDC

Kalamata Pasta with Chickpeas and Kale

While I was at the store the other day I discovered this ridiculously thick spaghetti. Naturally, I had to try it. On the back of the package it explained that because of it's substantial girth (snicker), it would hold up well in casseroles and heavily sauced dishes. I decided my Kalamata Pasta with Chickpeas and Kale would be the perfect dish to experiment with.  Produce On Parade - Kalamata Pasta with Chickpeas and Kale

I liked the thick pasta, though it was kind of a pain to boil. Normally I just shove the pasta down into the pot as the bottoms get soft. No can do with this pasta. Todd didn't like these little buggers because he said they were too "unwieldy, unpredictable, they do what they want and they make a mess." I obviously won't be getting this pasta again! But, it was fun to try out. If you see the thick pasta in your grocery store, be adventurous and try it! 

In this Mediterranean inspired pasta dish, thick spaghetti is laden with salty Kalamata olives, protein-packed chickpeas, fresh tomatoes, and tender kale.

Produce On Parade - Kalamata Pasta with Chickpeas and Kale

You're going to love it. 

Kalamata Pasta with Chickpeas and Kale

Serves 6

  • Pasta:
  • 1 lb. thick spaghetti pasta, dry
  • Aromatics:
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • Middle:
  • 4 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. vegan sugar
  • End:
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, de-pitted and halved
  • 1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 15 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 small bunch of kale, de-stemmed and chopped

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium-low. Add the remaining aromatic ingredients and saute until the onions begin to brown slightly, about 8 minutes.

Add the middle ingredients and simmer for about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. 

Produce On Parade - Kalamata Pasta with Chickpeas and KaleProduce On Parade - Kalamata Pasta with Chickpeas and Kale

Now, add the olives and chickpeas. Saute for an additional 3 minutes. 

Produce On Parade - Kalamata Pasta with Chickpeas and Kale

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package. Then, incorporate the canned tomatoes and the kale into the sauce. Stir well and simmer covered while the pasta is cooking.

Produce On Parade - Kalamata Pasta with Chickpeas and Kale Produce On Parade - Kalamata Pasta with Chickpeas and KaleProduce On Parade - Kalamata Pasta with Chickpeas and KaleWhen the pasta is done, drain and add to the sauce. Remove from heat and allow to rest a few minutes before serving. 

Produce On Parade - Kalamata Pasta with Chickpeas and Kale

Serve hot. 

Produce On Parade - Kalamata Pasta with Chickpeas and KaleProduce On Parade - Kalamata Pasta with Chickpeas and Kale Produce On Parade - Kalamata Pasta with Chickpeas and KaleAmen to this song, ladies: Ok Sweetheart – Can't Stop This

German Word of The Day: Kale --> Grünkohl (pronounced: groona-coal) Not sure how I haven't done that one yet!

Good Deed of The Day: Sign this petition to help stop climate change from endangering the Pygmy Rabbit. Author is the Environmental Defense Fund. Damn you, climate change! Look how cute!

Produce On Parade

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