Just about everyone I’ve ever talked to about beets will 1) proclaim they’ve never liked them and then 2) effuse about how that all changed once they had roasted beets. Helping spread the word are the many restaurants that all tend to have some variation on a roasted beet salad with goat cheese and nuts on their menu. And with good reason, it’s a great salad. This particular recipe brings changes up that formula and brings some chewiness from the barley as a balance to the firmness of roasted beets. I’m also using parmesan for some nuttiness rather than the more common goat cheese.
Save Time by Pressure Cooking Beets
On the surface, this looks like a simple salad. And it really is. But two of the main ingredients, the barley and the beets, both have long cooking times. That’s kind of why I chose them for this experiment because I wanted to try making both of them in a pressure cooker and see just how much time I could save.
Typically, roasting large beets can take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half to cook all the way through. When roasting, I like to use my toaster oven as there’s no sense in firing up the oven for just a few beets.
However, a pressure cooker cuts that time in half to about 40 minutes while still yielding a very flavorful result. They still had all of the sweetness and tenderness of a traditional oven-roasted beet.
You’ll follow a very similar course to oven roasting. Trim both of the ends, scrub thoroughly and leave the skin in tact. Though, instead of coating them in oil and wrapping in foil, place them all directly on the steamer tray in your pressure cooker. About at least a cup of water to the base and pressure cook for 40 minutes. Like an oven roasted beet, they retain their heat very well. So carefully remove them and let them cool before cutting into pieces. Once cool, the skins should rub off easily under running water.
Cooking barley in a pressure cooker had some similar time savings. In fact, I have a separate post about pressure cooking barley. However, in this case, you may want to cook the barley traditionally in a pan if you don’t have two pressure cookers. This way they both cook in parallel and not end-to-end.
Assembling the Arugula Salad with Barley and Beets
Since this will be served as a cold salad, it’s a 100% make-ahead kind of dish. I basically cooked the beets and the barley in parallel and staged everything in the refrigerator until I was ready to assemble the dish.
It’s also a good dish that you can really “play by ear”. The amount, and ratio, of ingredients is entirely up to you based on how many people you’re serving, kind of dish, affinity towards beets, etc. And since every ingredient is a fine leftover on its own, you shouldn’t have any waste. In the end, this recipe is really just an exercise in presentation. You may want to layer the beet salad into a large serving platter. Maybe you want to toss it in a bowl. Or just serve it up directly on a plate. Either way, the ingredients below should give a general guidepost to serving 6-8 people with a solid salad course.
Oh, and the beet greens? I mixed them a few days later with an equal amount of green chard, sautéed them in garlic and olive oil and served along side some tilapia. Fair warning, they are super scrubby if you eat a lot of them….
- 2 Cups Cooked Barley
- 3 Large Beets
- 1 Container Arugula
- 2 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
- 2 ounces Shaved Parmesan
Scrub the beets thoroughly, trim the ends and place them in the steam basket of your pressure cooker. Add 1 cup of water and pressure cook for 40 minutes.
After the beets have cooled thoroughly, peel the skins and chop into bite sized pieces
- Put down a bed of arugula and mix in the beets, barley and parsley
- Finish with the shaved parmesan and lightly drizzle on the olive oil and vinegar