Pickled sultanas add a delicious pop of sweetness and acidity to this hearty winter salad. The carrots are roasted with red onion, cumin, fennel seeds and a hint of Aleppo pepper (or chilli) to add a warm depth of flavour. A vibrant orange vinaigrette pulls this salad together which would pair well with any meat, chicken or fish.
You can use raisins or currants as an alternative to the sultanas. Any leftovers can be stored in a jar with the pickling liquid for later use. These would be great served on a cheese board or with grilled cheese toast.
Once you have made the salad and tossed everything together, check for seasoning and add another splash of vinegar if necessary and salt & pepper. Serve this salad alongside roast chicken, at a braai with other grilled meat, or as part of a Middle Eastern feast.
I have used blood oranges in this recipe because they are in season but any orange will work perfectly.
How to make roast carrot and barley salad
First, make the pickled sultanas and these can be made in advance. They will develop over time in the jar.
Make sure the red onions are not cut too thin otherwise, they will burn (mine were a little too small).
First coat the vegetables in olive oil before adding the cumin, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Toss well to coat.
Roast the vegetables for around 35 – 45 minutes until cooked through and starting to caramelize around the edges.
While the vegetables are roasting add the barley to a small pot with 3 cups of water and the stock cubes. Bring to a boil and cook over medium-low heat for 25-30 minutes until cooked but al dente. Drain and rinse briefly under cold water to stop the cooking process.
Once the vegetables are cooked add them to a bowl with the cooked barley. Add in any of the fennel seeds from the pan and toss to combine.
Chop the parsley (including the stalks), and grate the orange zest and add it to the salad.
Mix all the dressing ingredients until emulsified and the honey has dissolved. Add this to the salad and toss until well combined. Add the pickled sultanas, and if necessary another splash of vinegar, salt and pepper.
Serve on a large plate and scatter over the toasted almonds. These add a lovely crunchy textural element.
What to serve with this Roast carrot and barley salad
A few other salad recipes you might like:
Recipe – serves 4 – 6 as a side
Roasted carrot and barley salad with pickled sultanas
- ½ cup 95gms sultanas or raisins
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbs sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 bay leaf optional
Roast carrot and barley salad:
- 800 – 900gms carrots about 8 large, peeled
- 1 large red onion or 2 smaller peeled and cut into thick slices
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 ½ tsp cumin
- 1 ½ tsp fennel seeds
- Salt and pepper
- A few sprigs of thyme optional
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 2 vegetable stock cubes
- 1 big handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley chopped (1/4 cup firmly packed once chopped)
- Zest half an orange
- Handful of toasted almond slices
- 3 – 4 Tbs pickled sultanas
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Tbs freshly squeezed blood orange or orange juice
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 Tbsp Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- To make the pickled sultanas, add all the ingredients to a small pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 5 minutes over low heat. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Decant into a jar with the bay leaf until use. The sultanas will absorb more of the pickling liquid over time.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F and line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper or a silicone baking sheet.
- Peel the carrots, and cut them in half. Cut the thicker halves in half again and put them in a bowl with the thick red onion slices.
- Add the olive oil and toss the vegetables until well coated.
- Add the cumin and the fennel seeds and toss again. Spread the vegetables out on the lined baking sheet and roast for around 35 – 45 minutes until cooked through and starting to caramelize around the edges.
- While the vegetables are roasting add the barley to a small pot with 3 cups of water and the stock cubes. Bring to a boil and cook over medium-low heat for 25-30 minutes. Drain and rinse briefly under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
- Once the vegetables are cooked pick out any of the large thyme stalks (if you used them) and scrape them into a bowl with the cooked barley. Add in any of the fennel seeds from the pan. Toss to combine.
- Chop the parsley and grate the orange zest and add it to the salad.
- Mix all the dressing ingredients until emulsified and the honey has dissolved. Add this to the salad and toss until well combined. Add the pickled sultanas. Add another splash of vinegar and salt and pepper if necessary.
- Serve on a large plate and scatter over the toasted almonds.