Spring Salad with Miso Dressing


Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add barley and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 25 minutes, or until barley is tender. Drain if any liquid remains and set aside.

Bring a medium-sized pot of salted water to a boil. Trim asparagus and cut into 1½- to 2-inch pieces. Blanch asparagus in boiling water for 1 minute, or until bright green and tender-crisp. Rinse under cold water and drain. Set aside.

Combine barley, spinach, and snow peas together in a large bowl. Add asparagus and slice in the avocado.

Combine miso, mirin, soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar together in a small bowl. Whisk using a fork. Drizzle dressing over the salad and gently toss to coat ingredients.

To Serve

Spoon tossed salad into four bowls and garnish each with pistachios (if using). Or pass the salad and the nuts at the table for guests to serve themselves.

You’ve Got Options

Mirin is Japanese cooking wine. You can use white or red cooking wine or sherry instead. Or you can omit the mirin and use 3 tablespoons each soy sauce and rice vinegar.

Barley is a great grain for this salad because it adds a chewy texture and nutty flavor. Substitute wheat berries, quinoa, or brown rice if you prefer, but check the package directions for cooking time for those grains in step 1.

Asparagus is in season in the spring. Seek out fresh, local, and organic if possible. If asparagus is not available, use green beans instead.

Your favorite nuts may be exchanged for the pistachios (use what you have on hand!)

Makes 2 Servings, Easily Doubled


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin avocado oil

  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 cup whole-grain barley (see options)

  • 3 cups vegetable broth or water

  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus (about 6 ounces)

  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves

  • 1 cup roughly chopped snow peas

  • 1 firm ripe avocado, peeled and pitted

Miso Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons white or brown miso

  • 3 tablespoons mirin (see options)

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar

Garnish (optional)

  • ½ cup chopped toasted pistachios (see options)

From “The Reducetarian Cookbook: 125 Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Plant-Based Recipes for Omnivores, Vegans, and Everyone In-Between” by Reducetarian Foundation (Center Street, $21.99). Recipe developed by Pat Crocker. Photo by Ashleigh Amoroso.