In my Lunchbox

There is beet in my lunchbox. Beet. That weird red stuff that I have refused to even smell for 19 years.
And it gets even crazier...it is paired with spinach!!!
My mum would probably High Five me by the sight of this....

I have never been a picky eater. Well, I don't eat meat, haven't eaten it for seven years, and don't plan on eating it ever again. But apart from that I'd like to think that I am an adventurous eater and there wasn't a lot of food that I wouldn't eat as a kid. On that list were:
Mashed potatoes
Brussel Sprouts

And look at me now, stuffing beet and spinach in my face by the handfuls. Oh hasn't my palate developed beautifully! :D
(But I'll still never ever go near brussel sprouts or mashed potatoes, which is just really degrading abuse of a beautiful vegetable)

This is a beautiful refreshing little salad, that keeps really well in a box and won't go soggy and blehh even after a couple of hours.
Thanks to the barley it also fills you quite a lot and gives you the necessary energy to make it through a stressful day!
If you don't have pot barley on your hand, quinoa, cous cous, or rice would make a nice substitute as well.
Don't leave out the cranberries or walnuts, in my opinion they really make the salad!

Beet and Barley Salad (1 serving)
1/2 cup pot barley
1 tsp salt
2 cooked beets
A handful of spinach (approximately 1 cup)
1/2 cup roughly chopped leek (optional)
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 tsp honey
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp balsamic vinegar (to taste, you might want to add a little more)
A dash of dried parsley, or a couple of leaves of fresh parsley
1 minced clove of garlic

Cook the barley in 1 cup of  salted water for about 15-20 minutes, until the barley has absorbed the water and has become soft. You might have to add a little more water as you go.
When the barley is cooked, you can either let it cool or make the salad right away.
Roughly dice the beets, add them to the barley together with the spinach, leek, cranberries and walnuts.
For the vinaigrette just combine all the ingredients and taste because you might have to adjust the flavours by adding more honey or more vinegar, depending on how sweet you prefer your dressing.

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