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How to sell beets to a beet hater–Barley Salad with Golden Beets and Their Greens

Even people who say they hate beets will love this barley salad with golden beets and their greens. This recipe includes all the suggestions and tips for how to sell beets to a beet hater.

First–start with golden beets. They are sweeter than the red ones and beet’s earthy flavor is less apparent.

Second–roast those beautiful golden beets. Roasting beets, in the oven or on a grill, concentrates their sweet flavor component, much more so than when beets are boiled.

Third–catch the beet-hater off guard.  Hide them in a grain salad with spicy vinaigrette, like this barley salad with golden beets and their greens.

How to sell beets to a beet hater–Barley Salad with Golden Beets and Their Greens

When you acquire beets with the greens intact, use them as well. It’s kind of like getting 2 vegetables for the price of one. Especially when your beet greens are as gorgeous as the ones in today’s Ranui Gardens CSA box. All you need to do is wilt the greens, chop them and toss them into a salad, as with this recipe.

So, we have the chewy barley grain and diced sweet roasted golden beets. Good start. Next, toss in toasted chopped walnuts and some feta cheese for crunch and saltiness. Finally, dress everything with a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing. You now have the recipe for how to sell beets to a beet hater.

5 from 1 vote
How to sell beets to a beet hater–Barley Salad with Golden Beets and Their Greens
This salad is perfect for potluck dinners. It holds well on a buffet and feeds plenty of eaters. Or keep the deliciousness for you and your family, and enjoy it for several days, lunch and dinner!
Author: Letty Flatt
  • 4 medium beets , including their green tops
  • 1 cup pearl barley , rinsed
  • ½ teaspoon plus another ½ teaspoon Real Salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Up to 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 or 3 ounces feta cheese , crumbled
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts , lightly toasted
  1. Heat a grill or oven to medium-high or 350° F. Cut the tops off the beets and set them aside. Gently scrub any dirt from the beets and wrap them up in foil. Roast the beets until they are-fork-tender, 45 minutes to an hour. Let them cool until you can handle them, then slip off the peel with your fingers. Dice the beets into ½-inch cubes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring 3 to 4 cups of water to a boil. Stir in the barley and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Return to a simmer. Cook until the barley is tender to your tooth, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. Wash the beet greens. Strip away and discard the stems. Cut the greens into ribbons, about ¼-inch thick.
  4. Heat the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds along with the onion and and cook until the onion turns translucent. The mustard seeds will pop noisily. Add the beet greens and cook, stirring every so often, until the greens have wilted, about 5 minutes.
  5. Mix the beets, barley and wilted greens in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar, the remaining salt and the cayenne. (see note)
  6. Pour the dressing over salad, tossing until everything is coated and well mixed. Refrigerate until the beets and barley are cold.
  7. To serve, toss in the feta and chopped walnuts. Taste and adjust the salt and cayenne if you determine the salad needs more seasoning.
Recipe Notes

Use less cayenne if you want the salad less spicy.)


  • Great tip Letty. I was a beet hater for years and found that if I grated them and added cheese and spices and then cooked them as patties, it went very well. Reply · 23 August, 2012

  • […] Red Velvet. That’s what they look like. With tender cake-like texture but not the bleeding brightness that ¼ cup of red food color brings to a 9-inch round cake. Finish with a swirl of chocolate honey glaze and you’ve got a winner, another way to surprise beet haters. […] Reply · 20 December, 2013

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