Golden Beet and Barley Salad with Beet Greens
- 4 medium golden beets, tops removed (see Recipe Note)
- 1 cup dry pearl barley
- 1/2 large onion or shallot, minced (about 1 cup) (red onions or shallots work best)
- 1 bunch (about 1 pound) beet greens
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 lemon, divided
- 4 ounces’ feta, crumbled, plus extra for serving
- 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oven to 450°F. Loosely wrap the beets in foil and roast them in the oven until they are just fork tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Let cool enough to handle, then peel and dice the beets into 1/2-inch cubes.
Meanwhile, cook the barley. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the barley and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until the barley is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain the barley and return it to the pan. Cover with a clean dishtowel until ready to use.
Place the onions in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside to soak for at least 30 minutes.
Wash the greens and pat dry, but leave some moisture clinging to the leaves. Strip off the leaves, stack them in a pile, and slice them into 1/2-inch ribbons. Set aside. Dice the stems into small bite-sized pieces and set aside.
Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the diced chard stems with a pinch of salt until they start to turn translucent around the edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the ribboned greens, half of the lemon juice (1 1/2 tablespoons), and a healthy pinch of salt. Continue to cook, stirring gently, until it is bright green and has wilted down, another 4 to 5 minutes. If the pan is very dry, add a few tablespoons of water so the greens can keep steaming.
Drain the onion from the soaking water. Combine diced beets, cooked barley, beet stems and leaves, and onion in a large mixing bowl. Let everything cool to room temperature, then stir in the feta. Whisk together the remaining lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and stir to evenly coat all the ingredients.
Taste the mixture. As needed, add salt 1/4 teaspoon at a time. Add pepper to taste.
Serve family-style in a large bowl or in individual bowls with extra feta sprinkled over the top. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for one week.