Wednesday, August 21st, 2013...9:54 pm

Barley and Spinach Salad with Tofu Dressing

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barley spinach salad w:o auto small

This is the second time that I have posted this recipe since I lost it the first time. I love this sooo much, I had to write it again for you all. My friend found this recipe, a long time ago, and gave it to me. The original is here. It is not vegan, so I worked on it a little bit and now I am a little addicted to this stuff. The barley could be exchanged with another hearty grain, like brown rice, but I love the chewy texture of barley, so I never mess with that part. The dressing has tofu that I squish with my hand into the tomato mixture and after stirring it into the salad, it looks like feta cheese. This combination is very satisfying and filling, so you don’t have to rely on another dish to supplement your meal. It is delicious!

Barley and Spinach Salad with Tofu Dressing

1 c. pearl barley

3 c. vegetable broth

6-8 thyme sprigs

4 garlic cloves, minced

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbsp. olive oil

5 c. baby portabella mushrooms, quartered  (the original recipe calls for cremini mushrooms, but baby bellas are my favorite)

4 shallots, thinly sliced

8-10 c. fresh spinach, chopped coarsely

1/3 c. basil leaves, chopped

1/4 c. mint leaves, chopped

1/4 c. sherry vinegar

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp. pure maple syrup

1 c. grape tomatoes, sliced in half

8 oz. firm tofu, drained and crumbled

In a medium saucepan, combine the barley, stock, thyme and half of the garlic. Add about a 1/4 tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium low and cover and cook about 25 minutes, or until the barley is tender. I let it sit in the remaining broth, if there is any, covered, while preparing the next part.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. of the oil and add the mushrooms. Salt and pepper to taste and cook over high heat until lightly browned. I had a lot of juice in the pan, so I drained it just a little, leaving about half. Add the shallots and cook until softened. This all only takes about 5-7 minutes. Now combine the barley and the mushroom shallot combination in a large bowl. Add the spinach, basil and mint, but don’t stir it together yet.

I use the same skillet and add the remaining olive oil, heating up to medium high. Add the leftover garlic and cook until just softened. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and maple syrup and bring to a boil. Cook until it is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they are cooked through. Add the crumbled tofu and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until heated through. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Serve warm or chill in the refrigerator for a cold salad. Yummy either way!

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