The week before the party, I made this delicious salad.
The super quick sauce was courtesy of The Breakaway Cook (recipe here). Deep, rich flavours from pureed sun-dried tomatoes, pomegranate molasses and fresh tarragon. I substitute a dried apricot and agave for the apricot jam and decreased the oil without any problems. The pomegranate molasses added a subtle taste but really added that extra dimension and it worked wonderfully with the tarragon.
I was so happy to love the sauce, because it made a ton!
Eric suggested serving it with orzo, but instead I went with barley. Wanting a more complete meal, I also added white beans and chopped Swiss chard. A cup of baby rainbow Swiss chard, because that was all I could harvest from my garden. ;) I only needed half of the sauce.
It was luscious and glorious. I knew I wanted to share the salad because it was that good.
Sadly, the sauce was sopped up by the barley when I ate it as leftovers. Still good but not as sinfully saucy as the first night
Half the sauce remained. The party was the following weekend.
With two beans salads, I knew I had my grain salad picked out.
I just couldn’t make it in advance.
Because I already had a bean-centric salad menu, I opted to forego the white beans, and well, I didn’t have any more Swiss chard, so it was just barley for the party. With the glorious sauce, no one knew what they were missing.
White Bean and Barley Salad with a Tomato-Pomegranate-Tarragon Sauce
1 cup pot barley, toasted
2 cups vegetable broth
10 sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in boiling water for at least 10 minutes
1 dried apricot, soaked in boiling water for at least 10 minutes
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup nondairy milk
1 tsp pomegranate molasses
1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon, plus an extra tablespoon
1 cup chopped Swiss chard, stems included if thin
1.5 cups cooked white beans, rinsed if canned (Great Northern beans would be great here, but cannelini work, too)
salt and pepper to taste
1. In a medium skillet over low heat, toast barley until lightly browned and fragrant. Meanwhile, bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once boiling, add toasted barley and simmer for 45-60 minutes. Check at 40 minutes and cook until it reaches your desired consistency. I like my barley with a bit of a bite if using it in a salad.
2. Meanwhile, prepare your sauce. Drain the tomatoes and apricots and place in a blender. Add the garlic, olive oil, nondairy milk, pomegranate molasses, and agave nectar in the blender and puree. Set aside.
3. When the barley is done, remove from heat and drain any excess liquid. Add Swiss chard and white beans, stirring to warm through. Add the sauce in increments: start with about half, mix well, and taste. I used about half, but keep adding more sauce and mixing until it tastes just right. Adjust the salt and pepper, and top with the extra tarragon.