Friday, February 5, 2010

Barley, Edamame & Hijiki Salad with Miso-Ponzu Dressing: Delicious & Heart-Healthy

I look for cooking inspiration in many different places. In my quest to make sure I am getting nutrient-rich, healthy food onto my plate one source of ideas has been the deli and takeout sections of my local natural food stores. It's the kind of "fast food" that is actually good for you and I love the variety of ingredients and flavors especially in the soups and salads. A couple of days ago I grabbed a kale salad and an Asian-inspired whole grain salad with pearl barley, edamame and hijiki (seaweed) in a miso dressing from the grab and go deli case at Umeke Market. Usually the first thing I think when I try something I like is "I bet I can make this at home, cheaper and better," and since I had all the ingredients to create a version of the barley salad I decided to give it a go.

Since a few of the ingredients might not be that familiar to everyone; here is a little bit about the key players in the recipe.

I love to try different grains and bought a bag of Purple Prairie Barley from Timeless Natural Food: a couple months ago to try. The website says, "This very unique, naturally hulless Purple Prairie® Barley originated in Tibet. It is 15% protein and the highest source we've seen for healthful, cholesterol-fighting beta glucans. Sweet in flavor, it's a great whole grain substitute for pearled barley." Isn't it a pretty color?! Too bad it ends up a bit more brown when cooked, but it is still fun.

I have been trying to get more sea vegetables into my diet and experiment with cooking them them and had picked up some several varieties of dried seaweeds to play around with. Seaweeds in general contain many minerals, vitamins, amino acids and are great sources of iodine, calcium and iron and hijiki is a nutritional powerhouse and has a nice robust, slightly salty flavor. (BTW: The hijiki is in its dried form directly below and rehydrated in the close-up of the salad the next photo down)

From "The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth" by Johnny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.: Hijiki--"This contains the most calcium of any of the sea vegetables and is also a rich source of iron and vitamin A. It's very tough in it's natural state; you usually get it dried, but when cooked it rehydrates and expands to about five times its dry volume. Like arame and wakame, hijiki contains more than 10 times the calcium of milk. It also contains eight times the iron in beef."

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program I received a bottle of Kikkoman Ponzu Lime Seasoned Dressing & Sauce to try. Ponzu is a citrus-based sauce that is commonly used in Japanese cooking and Kikkoman's Ponzu combines it with their soy sauce. The company says that It has the perfect balance of salty, tangy and sweet and adds "umami--the fifth taste" (after sweet, sour, salty and bitter) and often described as "meaty, savory, brothy and delicious." Although ponzu and soy sauce are flavors primarily used in Japanese and Asian dishes, Kikkoman says it is also well-suited to Latin and Mediterranean foods. I thought it would be a great ingredient to make the dressing for this salad really pop.

I have both soy sauce and ponzu sauce in my refrigerator and often mix them together for sushi, a dipping sauce for gyoza (potstickers) and other things, so Kikkoman's Ponzu is a convenient combination to have on hand and I'll be trying it in a few more recipes. There are recipes and a coupon on the Kikkomans site (follow the link above), if you want to give it a try.

Barley, Edamame & Hijiki Salad with Miso-Ponzu Dressing
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 9 cups)

4 cups cooked barley
2 cups cooked edamame
1/3 cup hijiki, rehydrated
1 medium carrot, julienned
1/2 cucumber, julienned
2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds plus additional to garnish
Miso Dressing (see recipe below)
arugula or spinach to serve salad on

Miso Dressing:
2 Tbsp white miso
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp brown rice vinegar
2 Tbsp Kikkoman Ponzu
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp black pepper

Cook barley and edamame according to package instructions (I soaked my barley overnight--which reduces cooking time by about half--then cooked it for about 30 minutes). Rehydrate hijiki in a bowl of water for 10 minutes. Meanwhile whisk all dressing ingredients together and set aside.

Combine cooked barley, cooked edamame, hijiki, carrot, cucumber and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Add dressing and mix gently but thoroughly until mixed through. Place arugula or spinach on a serving plate, top with salad and garnish with remaining toasted sesame seeds.

Notes/Results: A really delicious, healthy grain salad and dare I say it--better and more flavorful than the original it was inspired by. I love the texture and slightly nutty taste of the barley and the way the miso dressing compliments it. The ponzu, lemon juice and brown rice vinegar brighten up the flavor nicely. Don't be frightened by the seaweed--it adds a nice layer of flavor and is not overpowering. Besides if you are not trying something new at least occasionally, you are missing out on a lot of great food out there! ;-) Since the miso, ponzu and hijiki all have a slightly salty flavor, no added salt is needed. I used my Oxo Julienne Peeler to cut the carrots and cucumbers into ribbons and it worked great. The salad is good cold or at room temperature and is very filling and satisfying. I would make it again.

Notice the red in the frames of the photos? Since today's recipe for Barley, Edamame & Hijiki Salad with Miso-Ponzu Dressing is such a heart-healthy dish, (it has tons of essential nutrients and fiber and is low in fat), I decided my blog should join me in wearing a little red for National Wear Red Day. Today Americans nationwide will wear red to show their support for women’s heart disease awareness as heart disease is the #1 killer in the U.S. Do you have your red on? ;-)

Happy Aloha Friday!


  1. i actually really love seaweed and seaweed salad. I definitely want to try this.

    I totally think the same thing as well when I'm eating something...most of the time. Unless it's so obviously complicated that I won't be able to make it myself. Better, cheaper, or faster.

  2. I love my OXO julienne peeler! Thi salad looks perfect for summer!

  3. What a beautifully composed salad. I'm keeping an eye out for the purple barley; we've been eating more barley lately. That Oxo peeler has almost made it home a few times. It might make it to the checkout next time I see it.

  4. Deb, I definitely will be making this incredible salad. I absolutely love to use ponzu sauce in various dishes and know that your salad will be delicious. Many thanks...

  5. I love this post!
    You are the angel on my shoulder, reminding me of the wonderful possibilities of healthy alternatives and are always introducing me to new things.
    I am a fan of Kikkoman too - you can always rely on them for good flavour.
    Delicious all around!
    (ps, I loves my OXO julienne peeler too!)

  6. Oh Deb, you are always so inspiring with your healthy food. I wish I could be as creative as you, but with the picky eaters in this house, it would never happen!

    So if you don't mind, I'll just live vicariously through you!

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  8. Fantastic salad...great combo and so so healthy and fresh tooo...brownie points all the way up...

  9. wow what a wonderful salad, oh I need to get me some ponzo

  10. Delicious and healthy salad and I love this miso-ponzu dressing!

  11. I am seeing barley everywhere this week! I think it is the nudge I need to try it again. Sure is a beautiful salad Deb!

  12. Deb,
    This edamame salad look really yummy. Have you ever thought about teaching at class at KCC? I would definitely be the first one to sign up. Hehe! ;)


  13. Deb,

    I adapted this recipe recently and shared it via a blog post here. Many thanks for the inspiration.



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