The word salad usually evokes thoughts of summer with tender leaves of lettuce, vine ripened tomatoes, and if you are lucky, fresh fruit like berries or nectarines. It’s almost December, however and the veggies in my bin are more along the squash and root line. The berries in my house are either frozen (too mushy for a salad) or dried. Is it possible to put together a salad with things like this? You bet, especially if you throw in a couple of grains, too, like barley and wheat.
When I was challenged to create a recipe using an O Olive Oil and Vinegar combination, I wasn’t sure where my imagination would lead me. I also did not know which flavor combination I would be receiving. O has nine natural box combinations like lime and ginger, lemon and pinot, and blood orange and port. I was thrilled to see that I was sent Roasted Garlic Olive Oil and White Balsamic Vinegar. What a wonderful combination with so many possibilities!
I immediately opened both bottles and tried some. I could imagine roasted butternut, dried cherries, feta cheese with the gentle tartness of the balsamic and the lovely overtones of the garlic oil. Then I started determining the main part of the salad. Lettuce? No. Potatoes? No. Pasta? Maybe, maybe not. Grains. Oh yeah, definitely grains.
This was an amazing salad. Not only did it taste wonderful, but it was pretty, too, with all of the colors. The O Roasted Garlic Oil and White Balsamic Vinegar were the perfect combination for the dressing.
- 1½ cups cooked barley (1/2 cup uncooked)
- 1½ cups cooked wheat berries (1/2 cup uncooked)
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
- ½ medium onion, minced
- 1 stalk celery, sliced thin
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ⅓ cup dried cherries, chopped
- ½ cup cashews, divided
- ½ cup feta cheese
- ½ tsp ground white pepper
- 2 Tbsp O White Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 Tbsp O Roasted Garlic Olive Oil
- Place butternut squash in a shallow pan and drizzle with 1 Tbsp oil.
- Roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.
- Test for done-ness with a fork. If done, remove from oven and let cool.
- Meanwhile, saute onion and celery with thyme in small skillet until soft.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- Crush ⅓ cup of the cashews.
- Toss the cooked barley, wheat, onion, celery, crushed nuts, squash, cherries and white pepper with the vinegar and olive oil.
- Sprinkle with feta cheese and remaining cashews.
- Serve warm or cold.