This Sprouted Barley Butternut and Beet Salad is a great way to introduce yourself to sprouted grains if you are unfamiliar with them. I love salads like this. A blend of whole grains, awesome fruits and veggies, and a tasty dressing (this one was a warm maple dressing). I served this salad warm, the first time, then the leftovers chilled. I can tell you it was really good both ways! You can’t go wrong here!
While most people are familiar with whole grains, a recent poll I took with my Instagram followers showed me hardly any are familiar with sprouted grains. So, here is a little info about sprouted grains, then I will tell and show you how to sprout. Consuming sprouts during their germination period increases the nutrients you get from the grain. A great article about this from Harvard explains better. I don’t sprout as often as I should, but really love it when I do.
To start with you will soak your grains. I used Barley in this recipe, but you really can use just about any grain you want! So, soak your grains for an hour or 2. Drain the water, rinse and cover again. Do this 2 or 3 times. Then drain and get ready to let the grains work their magic.
Set the jar at an angle and allow it to sit overnight. I have sprouting lids, but they were wide mouth. I couldn’t find those jars, so I had to carefully balance it in this bowl to let it jar and sit. Here are some great lids here if you don’t have some already. If you don’t want to purchase any other lids, you can always cover with cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band.
By mid-afternoon the next day, these were the barley I had sprouted. Can you see the little leg coming from the grain? It is ready to go! You can let it go longer if you want, but I like them at about this point. Now, the grains are tender, but I wanted to cook for an even more tender grain.
I added them to a pan of salted boiling water and cooked for about 5 minutes. It won’t take long, but I wouldn’t skip this step.
One thing I need to note, there are and have been cases of food born illnesses from sprouted grains. I would really like to know how many of those cases are from home sprouted whole grains and not the store-bought alfalfa sprouts. The sprouts like that are where I hear most of the cases come from. If you are worried, here are a few precautions. Make sure and rinse the grains well, don’t them sit too long in the water ( it is the moisture and temperature that make them candidates for bacteria growth), then refrigerate whatever grains you don’t use right away. Again, this is just a precaution. I have never had anything from them, and neither has anyone I know!
Let’s start roasting the butternut. I only want to use half my squash, so that is all I peeled. I peeled the neck, but whatever you want. So, peel well.
Then I cut it off the squash.
Then cut it into moon shapes. You can cut it in the thickness you want, mine were about 1/4 inch .
Roast at 425 degrees until tender.
Have you ever cooked beets in a pressure cooker? This method is new to me, but I am sold!!So, prep just like you would for roasting. Cut off the greens and wash the beets well. Place them in your pressure cooker with about a cup of water. If you have a steamer basket, use that. I didn’t and it was just fine.
Pressure cook for 15 minutes then do a natural release. Peel your beets and you are ready to go. See, I told you, so simple right??
I served this salad warm the first time and wanted a warm dressing to drizzle on it. Since this was a fall-flavored salad I would go with a maple dressing.
I always mix my dressings in mason jars. It is so simple just to shake and not dirty a whisk! Once it is mixed, throw it in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds.
Everything should be coming together at this point. The grains have been cooked as have the beets and butternut squash. Drain your grains and cut the beets.
To this salad I also added some dried cherries, pepitas, and pistachios. I am telling you, this salad has it all.
I only mixed it at the last minute as the beets dye everything a nice pinkish-red hue! Drizzle with the dressing and carefully mix. You want to be careful not to break up the butternut squash when you are mixing.
Here is the finished, beautiful salad. It was just wonderful.
If this salad isn’t what you are looking for, I have plenty of other options. Check all these ideas out!