Monday, November 15, 2010

Barley Gazpacho Salad

So, today started out like any other morning.  I had double fiber toast with natural chunky peanut butter for breakfast.  I had a VERY late lunch (at 3:30 PM) of my absolute favorite salad (romaine, spinach, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, green pepper, 5 black olives, garbanzo beans, pomegranate flavored craisins, a handful of almonds mixed with sunflower seeds, and 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed). Now, it's onto dinner. 

I was watching ABC this past Saturday and there was a Heart Healthy Contest.  Mika Brezezinksi hosted it.  I watch Morning Joe sometimes and Mika always seems like a food snob.  I agree with her about soda and candy, etc., and that Americans drink/eat way too  much unhealthy foods, but she harps and is almost condescending, which is not the right attitude to get people to actually listen to her message.  And I don't even drink any soda (but I do have candy sometimes).  Anyway, the contest was good, except that it didn't have any vegan or vegetarian entrees, which was bad.  The link to the winning recipes is here, and some of them I am positive can be converted into a vegan version. 

So I was nosing around the website and found a menu for Healthy Recipes and then made my way to Healthy Salad Recipes the Whole Family Will Love.  Granted, most of those salads are not vegan, but I think a lot of them can be adapted and it gave me some good ideas.  Although, I will probably never want to try the Beet Tabbouleh.  It seems like a lot of people really like beets, but they have never been one of my favorite veggies.  I remember my Mom fixing them and they tasted absolutely wretched.  Of course, I haven't tried them since I was a child, so maybe I should give them another chance ... NOT!  :)  In any case (as I beat around the bush), I found a recipe that I wanted to try with some modifications.  It is Barley Gazpacho Salad.  Overall, it sounded great.  I'm not understanding the two different kinds of tomatoes in the recipe and it didn't tell me what to do with the second tomato mentioned, but I didn't have plum or regular tomatoes, only grape tomatoes, so I just used them.

I used my pressure cooker for the barley.  I don't have a garlic press, and I'm not sure how I'd like raw garlic in a salad, so I threw a minced clove in with the barley in the pressure cooker.  Also, I used 3 cups of reduced sodium veggie broth and 1 cup of water instead of 1½ cups of broth and 1½ cups of water.  That's per the cooking instructions for the pressure cooker versus the stove top cooking instructions.  Confused?  I would be.  Here's the recipe, including all of my alterations.

Barley Gazpacho Salad

Put into pressure cooker and cook for 20 minutes on high and then cool.

1 cup pearl barley
3 cups vegetable broth, reduced sodium
1 cup water
1 clove garlic, minced

Combine the following in a bowl:

1 pint carton of grape tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cucumber, diced (I used regular as I didn't have an English cucumber in the house)
1 green bell pepper, diced

Mix the following and then toss into the tomatoes, cucumber, and bell pepper.

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon hot sauce (I used Lucille's Smokin Sauce)
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika

After the veggies and spices are mixed together, add the cooled barley. 

Top with:

thinly sliced avocado
toasted slivered almonds (mine weren't toasted, but they were still good)

So, I basically followed the recipe, but substituted for the things that I didn't have on hand.  I'm getting better trying a recipe that sounds good with comparable substitutions for missing ingredients. I have to say, I really liked this and will make it again.  The avocado added creaminess to the dish and the hot sauce only added a slight undertone, not an overwhelming spiciness.  The next time I make it, I think I'll double the sauce recipe to add just a hint more flavor.  This is an excellent dish that I highly recommend.

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