Warm Cauliflower and Herbed Barley Salad

I try to make a conscious effort to include fiber-rich foods in our daily diet.  Legumes such as navy beans, dried peas, lentils, barley, black beans, garbanzo (chick) beans, kidney beans, soy beans etc. are rich in fiber.  Fiber has an important role to play if you want a healthy body.  It helps with weight control, maintain normal cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels.  For more on fiber, click here.  The US has a higher consumption of meat than those from Southern Europe (they typically eat more vegetables, legumes, fish and wine).  Researchers have found that higher consumption of legumes was associated with a substantial reduction in coronary heart disease.

My husband and I ate out after church last Sunday and couldn’t help but notice a family of three eat only the meat and french fries on their plate.  The salad and vegetables were left behind!  We were astonished horrified at the example being set for this young girl.  And, of course, the meat portion nearly filled half the plate!  A good rule of thumb to use when it comes to portion size – the meat should not be larger than the palm of your hand.

Serves 4
inspired by Bon Appétit 

1/2 cup pearled barley
sea salt
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
olive oil
black pepper
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 15-ounce can butter beans, rinsed
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, divided

Place barley in a large saucepan; add water to cover by 2 inches. Season with salt. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, 25-30 minutes. Drain; run under cold water. Set aside. Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, and 5 tablespoons olive oil in a medium bowl until emulsified. Season dressing with salt and pepper; set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cauliflower; cook, turning occasionally, until browned in spots, 10-12 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water, cover, and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes longer. Season to taste. Transfer cauliflower to a large bowl; add beans, 1/4 cup parsley,  reserved barley, and half of reserved dressing. Toss to coat.  Divide salad among bowls and drizzle remaining dressing over. Garnish with lemon zest, 1/4 cup parsley.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  This delightful salad is a hearty one and will leave you satiated.  If you have any leftovers, the flavors will develop more overnight in the fridge.  Enjoy!