I actually made a vow to myself that I wouldn’t post any mango recipes for a while. Mangos are the best, but I already used them twice over a three-week span, and my bag of frozen mango had finally run out. Well, the universe had other plans for me. I got to Whole Foods this weekend and they were having an INSANE mango sale: $0.70 each for Ataulfo mangos, or a whole case of them for $9. I went for the whole case, because this price doesn’t come around very often here.
Ataulfo mangos are also known as champagne mangos and they are super sweet and creamy, tending to be less fibrous than the Tommy Atkins (which are the reddish-green skinned ones that are in supermarkets throughout the year). Their mellow flavor and toothsome texture means that they taste amazing in… EVERYTHING. I ate a good few of them plain, but now I am getting creative and finding more ways to make them savory (ideas are welcome!!).
This post kind of turned into a mango love letter, but we are getting tons of good veggies these days as spring finally perks up. All sorts of greens, fresh herbs, beans, asparagus, cabbage… the Baltimore farmer’s market is the place to be right now. Welcome, spring! (Of course, as I am writing this, the temperature is dropping into the 20’s as part of a freak weather event, but I’m just pretending that isn’t happening).
This barley salad bowl is an homage to everything that’s delicious in Maryland in April. I chose bok choy for my greens because when eaten raw it has a great spicy flavor to it, and the stems are crunchy and refreshing. If you aren’t sure about raw bok choy this would also be great with spinach. Toss in some basil and culantro (a cousin of cilantro that basically tastes the same but is shaped more like basil – used in Caribbean cuisine). crisp-tender green beans, roasted Brussels sprouts, a creamy tahini dressing, and the aforementioned fresh mango relish, and you are cruising for a perfect lunch.
I made a big batch of this because it was some work to cook the barley, green beans, and Brussels sprouts. Most of that is hands-off, though, so it wasn’t too much of a chore. This meal is packed with nutrients and it makes an awesome office lunch, no microwave required!
Spring Vegetable Barley Salad with Mango-Red Pepper Relish
Spring vegetables come together with chewy barley, sweet pepper mango relish, and tahini dressing for a flavorful bowl that makes great leftovers.
For the relish:
- 1 mango diced
- 3 small sweet peppers (or 1 large), stem and seeds removed, diced
- 1/4 sweet onion diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 lemon or meyer lemon juiced and zested
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 cup water
- salt, pepper, paprika, and ground coriander to taste
For the tahini dressing:
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 tsp spicy whole grain mustard
- 1 and 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp water
- 1 tsp cider vinegar
- salt, pepper, and smoked paprika to taste
For the bowls:
- 1 cup dry barley , cooked (I used pearl barley: here are instructions on how to cook it)
- Tahini dressing (see above)
- Mango-red pepper relish (see above)
- 1 lb green beans
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts
- 1 handful fresh basil thinly sliced
- 1 handful cilantro or culantro roughly chopped
- 1 small head of bok choy leaves sliced into ribbons & stems chopped (substitute fresh chopped spinach for a milder flavor)
For the relish:
- Add all ingredients to a small saucepan, bring to a light boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until liquid is gone, season to taste, and set aside.
For the tahini dressing:
- Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl until well-combined, season to taste, and set aside.
For the assembled salad:
Cook the barley, green beans, and Brussels sprouts according to your favorite method.
Toss together the cooked barley, herbs, bok choy (or spinach), and all of the tahini dressing. For each serving, add a dollop of mango-red pepper relish and generous handfuls of green beans and roasted Brussels sprouts. Serve while warm, or later at room temperature or cold.
To make this recipe gluten-free, you could try substituting the barley with brown rice or another chewy grain.
Happy Hump Day!