Valentine’s Day Menu & First Course — Bean & Barley Salad

I don’t know about you, but I prefer a romantic Valentine’s Day meal at home over a meal at most restaurants.  That way you get to enjoy a quiet meal with your loved one in the comfort of your own home without any waiting or traveling…and I’m guessing the food is just as good (or better!), not to mention cheaper.  The only downside is the clean-up, but that’s where enlisting your Valentine’s help comes in.  ;)

Here is the Valentine’s Day menu I put together to share with you. 

I made this meal for Mike a couple weeks ago (yup, before V-day…a windfall for him really, since he’ll get another special meal on the actual holiday) and he just about thought he had died and gone to heaven, especially when he had the main course (roast beef for two)…but I’ll tell you more on that soon.  I’ll be sharing each recipe in a separate post. 

The first course was this beautiful salad, which is flavorful, hearty, and healthy.  You’ll have leftovers, but don’t worry, this salad keeps well in the fridge for about three to four days and leftovers make a fantastic lunch.

Bean & Barley Salad {Vegan} 

Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish or first course, or 4 as a main dish on top of a bed of lettuce 

1/2 cup pearl barley

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/2 cup medium-ground bulgur wheat

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

3 tablespoons canola oil

1 tablespoon sesame oil (or canola oil)

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons tamari sauce (or soy sauce)

2 teaspoons maple syrup*

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon hot paprika or cayenne pepper (optional; more or less to taste)

1 small red onion, finely diced

1 red bell pepper, finely diced

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

1 cup lentils, rinsed and drained (cooked or canned)

1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained (cooked or canned) 

Put the barley and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small-medium lidded saucepan with 1 1/2 cups hot water; cover, bring to a boil, then turn heat down to very low and simmer until the water is absorbed and the barley is tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove any excess water, then cool and fluff. 

While the barley cooks, soak the bulgur.  To do so, put the bulgur and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; add 1 cup boiling water, cover the bowl, and let it sit for 20 minutes.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove any excess water, then cool and fluff. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, canola oil, sesame oil, lemon juice, rice vinegar, tamari sauce, maple syrup, sweet paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, and hot paprika (or cayenne).  Stir in the red onion, red bell pepper, parsley, lentils, black beans, barley, and bulgur.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as desired; refrigerate until serving. 

*You can use honey instead if keeping it vegan isn’t a concern.

Aren’t these little turtle dove S&P shakers adorable?  I got them for $5 at Pier 1 and thought they’d be perfect for Valentine’s.

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Hello! I’m Faith and I write An Edible Mosaic. This is my recipe collection of international favorites and updated American classics, with an emphasis on seasonal dishes. I focus on real foods that sustain body and mind, bring people together, and make a house a home. Welcome to my mosaic of recipes.

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