My husband and I went back to our alma mater for homecoming in late October, and we happened to run into an old friend.
There’s a bond among people who lived in the same dorm their freshman year that is not easily broken. Sure, we hadn’t seen our friend in ages, but we picked up right where we left off, and ended up catching up with her for quite some time. It was a morning well-spent. Especially because no matter the gathering, this particular friend is always the mom of the group. She’s the one who has the tissues in her bag, or the Tide-to-Go pen. And she always, always, always has more food than anyone could ever eat in one kind of sitting. That’s my favorite kind of friend.
She was walking us through her tailgate selections, and when she started describing her salad, I started drooling.
We got home from the game and had it on the table for dinner that night.
To make Lauren’s Pomegranate, Bacon, and Barley Salad for 4, you will need:
- 3 T red onion, finely minced
- 1/3 C olive oil
- 3 T balsamic vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 C barley, cooked in 2 1/3 C water (place the barley and water, and a pinch of salt, in a saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 45 minutes, until barley is cooked)
- 4 strips bacon, cooked, and broken into pieces about an inch in length
- 1/3 C chopped walnuts, toasted
- arils of 1/2 a pomegranate
- 4-5 C spinach leaves
Pour olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Add about 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper, each, and stir everything till combined. Place onion in bowl and give everything another stir. Set aside. This step helps the onion lose a little of it’s crazy bite, so the flavor has some time to mellow out here.
Place barley in salad bowl. Add bacon, walnuts, pomegranate arils, and spinach and give everything a nice toss.
Top with dressing, toss till combined.
(If making in advance, keep dressing separate and pour over right before serving. A word that bacon never keeps its crispness much past a day, however.)