As healthy as it comes, this delicious and vibrant Purple Cauliflower Barley Salad with Orange Vinaigrette, is surprisingly simple and looks stunning on any table.
Lately, I have been feeling pretty uninspired. I haven’t had any new creative and exciting recipe urges, my images have felt flat and boring and my workspace has felt claustrophobic. From time to time, this happens. In the past, I used to freak out and worry that I would never feel inspired again. Over the years, however, I have come to learn that this is part of the process. When you spend every single day doing the same thing (more or less), you’re bound to feel burn out somewhere. For me, it’s usually the writing part of blogging where I feel it most. Ironically, this is typically where I spend the least amount of my time. It’s not that I don’t enjoy writing because I do. I suppose that for me I have a much easier time expressing myself through the food and photography. Writing comes secondary.
Anyway, the past few weeks have been rough. Two very scary health scares within my family have had me thinking a lot about things- although I couldn’t tell you what exactly.
I am an overly sensitive product of divorced parents, one whom still struggles with alcoholism and both from depression, but each with an incredible amount of love for their children. As a result, I have learned over the many many years of my life to internalize. Unfortunately, sometimes I internalize when I probably shouldn’t.
In other words, I am a complete contradiction. An overly sensitive internalizer who runs in the opposite direction when faced with pain and sadness.
Whoa, guys, things just got heavy in here. I don’t know how that happened. I’ll blame it on the Nine Inch Nails I’m currently listing to while I write this out. Total word vomit. Apparently, I needed to get that off my chest…I could delete it, but for the sake of full transparency and all…
Ok, so, what I meant to start talking about was my lack of inspiration until…
I walked into the market the other day and saw all these gorgeous PURPLE cauliflowers. Cauliflower was not part of the plan for the week, but I couldn’t say no. Now, it’s not like this was the first time I had ever seen purple cauliflower, but it was the first time I felt truly inspired by them.
I picked up 4. Obviously.
A dangerous game since I don’t own an oversized refrigerator (omg, what a dream that would be), but one I was willing to play. Anywho, from these four gorgeous cauliflowers, I have created three equally beautiful meals. And, just like that, I found my inspiration once again.
This Cauliflower Barley Salad with Orange Vinaigrette is fresh, healthy (fiber!) and impossible not to love looking at. It’s also husband approved (he went gaga for the vinaigrette). Sadly, Octavian wouldn’t dare give it a go.
Psh. Kids these days…
And…AND! You can absolutely turn this blissful Cauliflower Barley Salad with Orange Vinaigrette in lunchtime magic for the next day. I added chopped up beets, but chicken or fish would also taste amazing.
One small little heads up about cauliflower rice- it gets STINKY if it’s left in the fridge too long. My husband still eats it. I don’t.
Purple Cauliflower and Barley Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
For the Salad
- 1.5 cups quick-cook Barley - *
- 1 purple cauliflower - head, riced
- 1 cauliflower - regular small head, riced
- Olive oil
- 1 red onion - diced
- 1/2 cup almonds - finely chopped
- 1.5 cups parsley - minced
- 1/2 cup mint - fresh, chiffonade
- 2 oranges - zested, peeled, and chopped
- 1 cup pomegranate - arils
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 watermelon radish - thinly sliced
- Chopped beets and feta cheese - for the meal-prep bowls, if desired
For the Vinaigrette
- 1 orange - juiced
- 2 lemons - lemons
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- salt + pepper - to taste
- Cook barley according to package instructions. When cooked, remove from heat and drain. Allow barley to cool completely.
- To make the cauliflower rice, chop each cauliflower into small florets. Transfer florets to a large food processor and process until rice-sized pieces are formed (you may need to do this in batches).
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1-2 teaspoons olive oil and the riced cauliflower to the skillet. Cook over medium heat for approximately 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently (the goal is not to fully cook the cauliflower- more like warm through). Remove cauliflower from the skillet and transfer to a large serving bowl.
- To the cauliflower add the cooked barley, red onion, chopped almonds, parsley, mint, chopped oranges and orange zest, pomegranate arils, sunflower seeds, and watermelon radish. Toss to combine.
- Prepare the vinaigrette. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, add the orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper, to taste. Shake well to combine.
- Drizzle salad with desired amount of vinaigrette and mix well to combine.