Warm butternut and barley salad


This recipe is inspired by a recent segment I did on the Expresso show where we prepared a dish with barley, and it reminded me that it’s been a while since I enjoyed this chewy and nutty grain. As winter draws closer for us in the southern hemisphere this is a wonderfully warming and satisfying salad to make and enjoy.



I’m just loving these ingredients – butternut, spinach, fresh herbs… and let’s not forget the cheese! I’ve had this salad on repeat, especially over the recent Cape Town cold spell. It’s perfect for lunch, but you can also enjoy it as a side dish at dinner time, and pack the leftovers into lunchboxes for school or the office.



Here’s some more barley salad inspo! This is the recipe we made on Expresso:



  • 10ml (2 tsp) olive oil
  • 2 leeks (about 150g), sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 200g pearled barley
  • 900ml vegetable stock
  • 4 medium carrots (about 180g), peeled and sliced diagonally
  • 500g butternut cubes (small)
  • 5ml (1 tsp) ground cumin
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 50g baby spinach, stalks removed and shredded
  • 5g fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 5g fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 100g chevin soft goat cheese or feta

1.) Preheat the oven to 190ºC and set out a large baking tray.

2.) Heat 5ml olive oil in a deep saucepan. Add the leeks and cook over a medium heat for 8-10 minutes to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

3.) Add the barley and toss with the leeks. Pour in the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 40 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and the barley is tender but chewy.

4.) While the barley is cooking arrange the carrots and butternut on the baking tray and drizzle with the remaining 5ml olive oil. Sprinkle the cumin over the veggies and season well with salt and pepper. Toss together, then spread into a single layer and roast for 30 minutes or until tender.

5.) Transfer the barley to a large bowl or platter and leave to cool for the few minutes. Add the roasted carrot and butternut. Add the spinach, parsley and mint and toss everything together. Top with small pieces of chevin and serve.


2 thoughts on “Warm butternut and barley salad

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