Pumpkin, Barley and Baby Spinach Salad

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This salad is a delicious autumn treat that can be served warm or cold. It keeps in the fridge for a couple of days and is great as a packed lunch. Lentils can be used instead of barley and wilted chard is a good alternative to spinach. Anster cheese or some bacon would be tasty additions too.

Ingredients

800g pumpkin, peeled and roughly diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
300g barley
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 bag of spinach (around 150g)

For the dressing

5tablespoons balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas mark 6.  Put the pumpkin in to a large baking tray and pour over the olive oil.  Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until tender.  Put the pumpkin seeds in with the pumpkin for the last 5 minutes, to toast them.

Meanwhile put the barley in a pan with some salted water and bring to the boil.  Put a lid on and reduce the heat.  Let the barley simmer for about 25 minutes until al dente.

Whilst the pumpkin and barley are cooking, mix together the dressing ingredients in a bowl.

Drain the cooked barley and tip it into the bowl with the dressing. Then add the pumpkin and the seeds and mix well.  Let the mixture cool for a couple of minutes.

Finally add the spinach and enjoy.

Variation

Pumpkin Salad with Honey Dressing

Drizzle 600g of diced pumpkin with 2 tsp of olive oil and 2 tsp of honey then season with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven as above including 2 tbsp of seeds for the last 5 minutes.  Cook 250g of barley as above.  Mix together 1tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tsp of mustard.  Mix the dressing with the pumpkin, seeds and barley.  Allow to cool for a few minutes, then mix in 150g spinach.