What can I say about this salad, only that as far as Winter salads go, this one is probably my favourite to date. Winter vegetables such as beetroot, carrots and parsnips complement each other so well and work great with barley. The dressing is sweet with a little bit of warmth from the mustard and cinnamon. The salad is finished with crumbled goats cheese, toasted walnuts, orange segments and fresh parsley. For a vegan version, just leave out the goats cheese; it still tastes great.

Enjoy this salad as a healthy lunch time option, as a starter or as a side to fish or meat. In fact, if you are considering options for Christmas day, you won't go far wrong with this salad. It would be great as a starter; it's tasty enough to go down a treat, but light enough that it won't spoil the main course.

Serves 4-6


1 cup pearl barley

3 cups vegetable stock

4 small beetroot, quartered

4 carrots, cut into quarters length ways

2 parsnips, cut into quarters length ways

2 red onions, quartered

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp honey

Small handful parsley, finely chopped

½ cup crumbled goats cheese

½ cup walnuts, toasted

1 orange, peeled and cut into segments

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the dressing:

4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp cinnamon


Bring vegetable stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the barley and a pinch of salt. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes until the barley is soft, but not mushy. Drain any excess liquid from the barley and set to one side.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and honey and season with sea salt and black pepper. Preheat the oven to Gas 6/200C. Prepare the vegetables as per the ingredient list. Combine the carrots and beets on one baking sheet and the parsnips and onion on another. Coat the vegetables with the olive oil and honey mix. Roast the beets and carrots for 40 minutes and the parsnips and onions for 30 minutes or in the case of both until tender, turning occasionally.

Add all the dressing ingredients to a jar and close the lid tightly. Shake well to combine.

In a large serving bowl, combine the pearly barley, roasted vegetables and the dressing and toss lightly. Top with the crumbled goats cheese, toasted walnuts, orange segments and parsley and serve warm.

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