Just because it's winter doesn't mean we have to abandon salads! We just have to rethink how we make them.
Dark greens, roasted vegetables, and citrus fruits of all colors and stripes are the real players in January and February. They make salads that are both hearty and flavorful.
Enter sweet, roasted broccoli. What it lacks in beauty it overcompensates for in flavor. This simple salad, served warm, makes a perfect post-holiday meal.
Yes, the oven turns the broccoli a drab green, but ignore that because roasted broccoli is something special. The "branches" of the florets become tender while the edges that touch the pan caramelize and become crispy.
And don't toss your broccoli stems! You can roast them along with the florets. They are remarkably sweet and will practically melt in your mouth.
Bright red pomegranate seeds and a sprinkling of feta also really brighten the plate. Add some fresh spinach, too, for another texture.
If you, like me, become enamored with roasted broccoli, there are many other combinations that will make you happy all winter long. Try adding chickpeas to the salad for something more substantial, or sprinkle spicy za'atar or Parmesan on the broccoli.
Serve this for a light lunch on a day when you're at home and want to turn on the oven, or as part of a cozy dinner alongside roast chicken or fish.
Roasted Broccoli Salad with Feta, Barley, and Pomegranate
If you have the time, try roasting the broccoli for closer to 30 minutes. This gives them a deeply roasted flavor and makes the crowns of the florets extra-crispy.
To make this gluten-free, substitute cooked quinoa.
- For the salad:
- 2/3 cup pearl barley
- 2 pounds broccoli with the stems
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly-ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 4 handfuls fresh baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- Seeds (arils) from 1/2 pomegranate, about 1/2 cup
- For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup olive oil
Cook the barley:
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the barley, turn the heat to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, begin heating the oven to 450F:
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
Prep the broccoli:
Separate the broccoli crowns from the stems. Separate the crowns into florets. Peel off the tough outer skin from the stems with a vegetable peeler, and then cut into bite-size pieces.
Roast the broccoli:
On the baking sheet, spread the broccoli florets and stems and sprinkle with the oil. Use your hands to massage the oil into the broccoli so it is well coated, and spread in one layer. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and some freshly-ground black pepper.
Roast for 15 minutes, or until tender. Remove and let cool.
Toast the almonds:
As the broccoli roasts, spread the almonds in one layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden. Watch carefully so they don't burn. Remove and let cool
Make the dressing:
In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper together. Gradually whisk in oil.
Assemble the salad:
In a bowl, toss the barley, broccoli and spinach with the dressing. Transfer to plates or bowls and sprinkle with the almonds, feta and pomegranate seeds.