Roasted Squash and Barley Salad

I made this for a dinner party when I was tired of cooking rice.  (You can make it hours in advance.) Only regret was not making three times as much.

Roasted Squash & Barley Salad*

2 medium squash (I prefer acorn or delicata as the skin softens when you cook them so you don’t have to peel them)
1/2 cup dry barley (hulled, but NOT pearled)
2 cups water or better still, vegetable broth (See here how to make your own)
1/2 red onion
5 chives
Salt & pepper

Vinaigrette (The quantity below will likely provide more than you need, as you only need a light drizzle.)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp grainy mustard
1/2 tsp honey

Soak the barley overnight in water and strain before cooking. (This is not required, but it will cut cooking time.) Cook barley for about one hour.  If the water is soaked up but the barley still has some crunch, add a bit more water and cook some more.  You can’t really screw up barley (it doesn’t need to get fluffy like rice), so don’t worry about adding more water part-way through.

Set oven to 350. Chop the squash into 1/2 inch cubes (no bigger). Place in an oven proof pan and sprinkle with salt.  After 30 minutes stir it to ensure even cooking. Will take about 45 mins. Taste it to be sure skin is soft.

Whisk vinaigrette ingredients in a bowl or put into a jar and shake vigorously.

When barley and squash are done, add finely chopped onion.  Add a LIGHT drizzle of vinaigrette.  Do NOT dress it as you would a salad as you don’t want to detract from the taste of the squash or the barley. Add salt and pepper and top with finely cut chives.

*Can be eaten warm or room temperature, and cane be made hours in advance and re-heated.

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