Italian Barley w. Sausage & Kale Salad

Serves 4

1 cup of purple barley (or regular white barley)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 lb loose Italian sausage
1 large bunch of kale, chopped and remove the stems
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
½ cup shredded parmesan
A couple Tb olive oil for sautéing

Dressing:
¼ C cider or red wine vinegar
½ C olive oil
1 tsp oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, crushed, or ½ tsp dried garlic powder
¼ c shredded parmesan

Prepare the barley:
Bring 6 cups of lightly salted water to a boil and add the barley. Return to a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and cover with a lid. Cook for 40 minutes, and drain. You can test the barley for doneness after 30 minutes; it should be firm-tender when it’s done. This step can be done ahead of time. It’s best to let the barley cool down before using it for your salad.

Make the dressing:
Whisk together all of the salad ingredients in a small bowl.

The salad:
In a frying pan, sauté the mushrooms and red onion until half way done, about five minutes. Crumble the sausage into the pan and sauté all together, stirring occasionally, until done, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

In a large bowl, place the kale and sprinkle lightly with a little salt. Massage the kale lightly in your hands to slightly soften it, just for a minute or so. This gently removes any bitterness from the kale.

Now combine the all of the ingredients including the dressing and toss well. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to combine nicely before serving.