We love a hearty grain salad, especially one tossed with delicious roasted butternut squash, chickpeas, crunchy toasted walnuts, and pungent blue cheese for an enticing mix of textures and flavours. Sumac, fennel, lemon, and honey make for a superb dressing, and everything is served over a bed of baby spinach.
Roast Butternut Squash:
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Toss butternut squash with 1 tbsp. (2 tbsp. for 4 servings) olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Put in oven immediately and set timer for 15 minutes.
Add barley to a small pot with 3 cups (6 cups for 4 servings) water. Bring barley to a boil and cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until tender and chewy. Drain any excess water.
Toast walnuts in a small skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Remove from pan and chop coarsely.
Wash spinach, lemons, thyme, and parsley. Zest one (2 for 4 servings) lemon and juice 1 ½ (3 for 4 servings) lemons into a large mixing bowl. Whisk lemon zest and juice together with honey and spice blend until honey is dissolved. Pick and chop herb leaves and add to dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Finish Roasting Vegetables:
Drain and rinse chickpeas. When timer goes off, add onions and chickpeas to butternut squash. Turn broiler to 500°F and cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until veggies are tender and golden.
Finish Salad + Serve:
Finish barley salad by mixing roasted vegetables and barley into the dressing. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp. (2 tbsp. for 4 servings) olive oil. Divide spinach onto plates with salad on top. Garnish with walnuts and crumbled blue cheese to taste. Squeeze remaining lemon on top to taste. Enjoy!