Can't Beet It

By Gina Caputo

Can't Beet It

This is a riff on a favorite recipe of mine that I make every week. Sometimes I change up the legume or the greens, other times I change up the grain. This version uses barley, a high-fiber (with decent protein!) grain that is most commonly used in soups but has a nutty flavor that makes it amazing in salads. These salads feel like "shoulder season" salads to me, where I'm ready to move out of the heavier foods of winter but not quite ready for the light salads of summer.


  • 1 1/2 cups barley (I use this Italian barley from WF)
  • 1 cup Puy (French) Lentils or green lentils
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 clamshell (5 oz) of super or power greens
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1 package beets, diced (I like LOVE Beets)
  • Balsamic vinaigrette or your favorite store bought
  • Salt and pepper
  • Roasted and salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or another nut you love


  1. Prepare the barley in a rice cooker or according to package instructions
  2. Prepare the lentils either according to package instructions or boil them in 3 1/2 cups of water with the thyme, bay leaf, garlic powder and a dash of sea salt
  3. Dice the beets (if you’re making your own, either boil or steam them and be sure to peel them before dicing)
  4. Core and dice your apple
  5. Prepare your balsamic vinaigrette or have your favorite one handy
  6. When the barley and lentils are done, set them aside to cool a bit. Then, in a large salad bowl, combine barley and drained lentils and toss together. Then add the greens and your desired amount of dressing and toss well to coat. Then add the beets, and apple and toss again.
  7. Add salt and pepper to your liking
  8. Top with pepitas or another favorite nut or seed, as many or as few as you like!