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Published on March 17, 2020

beet and barley salad

Recipe: Beet, Barley and Grapefruit Salad     

This crunchy, tangy combination of flavors also offers plenty of fiber and nutrition.

Beet, Barley and Grapefruit Salad    

Makes about 10 servings


  • 1¼ pounds baby beets (10 to 15, depending on size)
  • 6 cups water
  • ¾ cup pearled barley, rinsed
  • 1¼ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1½ tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced scallions
  • ¼ cup chiffonade fresh basil
  • ½ cup walnuts or pecans, toasted (see note below), coarsely chopped
  • 2 fresh grapefruit cleaned and peeled, each section cut into bite-size pieces
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Scrub beets under running water.
  3. Wrap the damp beets in heavy-duty foil, crimping it closed to make a packet.
  4. Place in the oven and roast the beets until tender when pierced with a fork, 1 to 1½ hours, depending on the size. Unwrap; when cool enough to handle, slip off the skins with your fingers. Cut the beets in quarters lengthwise.
  5. Meanwhile, combine water, barley and ¾ teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a bare simmer and cook, uncovered, until the barley is tender, but still chewy (al dente), 40 to 50 minutes. Drain well and spread out on a baking sheet to cool.
  6. Whisk vinegar, oil, mustard, honey (or agave), pepper and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add the beets, celery, radishes, grapefruit and scallions; toss to coat. Let the vegetables marinate in the dressing for about 15 minutes. Stir in the barley.
  7. Just before serving, stir in basil and top with nuts.

Note for making ahead of time: Prepare through step 4, don't add radishes or grapefruit, and then cover and refrigerate for up to one day. Stir in radishes, grapefruit and basil and top with nuts before serving.

Note for toasting nuts: Toast nuts before using in a recipe for the best flavor. To toast whole nuts, spread on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F, for 7 to 9 minutes. To toast chopped, small or sliced nuts, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes. 

Source: Amanda Viau, ACE, CEC, Food Service Director, Avera McKennan Hospital & University Center

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