The deep violet colours of this purple carrot salad over a bed of fluffy pearl barley is certainly not an everyday looking salad. The umami miso glazed purple carrot is further enhanced by the delicate snow pea sprouts and the crunch of pepitas and almonds. What more could you ask for?
- Why You’ll Love This Purple Carrot Salad
- What Are Purple Carrots?
- What Colour Is the Flesh of A Purple Carrot?
- What Does Purple Carrot Taste Like?
- Where to Buy Purple Carrots?
- How to Cook Pearl Barley?
- Recipe Overview
- Variations and Substitutions
- Great Mains for This Salad
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why You’ll Love This Purple Carrot Salad
It is very hard to walk past large purple carrots and not stop to admire them. I was at a market I don’t usually go to, and I strolled past an organic grocer that had these stunning and vibrant purple carrots. They literally stopped me in my tracks, and it was begging me to make a salad out of it.
The coarse exterior and the deep violet colours inspired me to find other ingredients to complement the produce. I didn’t even ask what colour it was inside as I was too excited to get home to make a salad.
Do you love beautiful produce too, or is it just me? LOL.
So as not to overcomplicate this recipe and make it easy, not too many ingredients have been added. Perfect for cold days, barley comes into play to help bulk up the salad. To soften the textures, snow pea sprouts were added.
Another great plus about this salad is that it’s a no dressing salad. Instead, the purple carrots are glazed with some white miso paste, perfect if you always have some leftover in your fridge. I know I do!
Delicious, sweet, tender and umami. I’m sure you’ll really enjoy this salad!
What Are Purple Carrots?
Purple carrots have been around longer than you think and are, in fact, one of the original forms of carrots. Cultivated carrots originated in the Afghan region back in the 17th century.
Purple carrots get their vibrant colour from anthocyanin (28 times more) and have immense antioxidants compared to orange carrots. They also possess twice the amount of carotene, which we naturally turn into Vitamin A.
Purple carrots are healthier than the orange variety and should most definitely make an appearance on your dinner table more often.
What Colour Is the Flesh of A Purple Carrot?
This is a bit tricky. Whilst dark violet on the outside, the inside isn’t always the same. In fact, its core is more often orange in colour. They can also be yellow or, in this case, a dark reddish purple.
They say you can tell if you look closely at the exterior, but I never can, so if the grocer doesn’t have one cut open for everyone to see, I simply ask.
What Does Purple Carrot Taste Like?
Purple carrots generally have a sweeter flavour than orange carrot despite having 20% less natural sugar. Go figure! Sometimes, it also has a slightly peppery taste.
Where to Buy Purple Carrots?
Purple carrots don’t always make an appearance in my local supermarket. The best place to try would be at a farmer’s market or traditional grocer.
How to Cook Pearl Barley?
My first foray into pearl or pearled barley is a memory I don’t have. Barley is a Southeast Asian staple, and I have been eating it my whole life. But not as one might know it, such as in lamb stew. Barley for us came in the form of a sweet drink. Yup, a drink.
My mother, until this day, still makes this drink. She would boil the pearl barley with rock sugar and wedges of sweet pears. It is then kept cold in the fridge, and we would just grab a glass and drink and eat all of its ingredients.
It is one of my most favourite childhood memories, and when my mother comes to visit us in Australia, she makes it all of the time. Now, I watch my daughter come home from school and grab a glass, just like I did all those years ago. There is always pearl barley and rock sugar in my house.
Pearl barley is a barley that has been processed to remove the outer hull, which is quite fibrous. It has essentially been polished to remove the bran.
It is less chewy than barley that is not hulled, and they tend to expand once they are cooked. Even though they cook faster, it still takes a good 30-45 minutes to get it to the consistency you need.
The general rule is 1 cup of pearl barley to 3 cups of water. I always add another cup of water for good measure. Unlike rice, where the measurement needs to be spot on, I drain the barley and run through cold water after it’s cooked any way, so an added cup of water doesn’t hurt.
This way, I also don’t need to watch it like a hawk to ensure it doesn’t burn.
Flavour/Texture: The purple carrots will roast away nicely, and while it softens, it is still on the crunchy side. The barley helps to soften the overall salad while the snow pea sprouts are delicate.
From a flavour perspective, the white miso paste marinade is a flavour bomb! As it glazes over the carrots in the oven, the umami notes are heightened with bits of smokiness. It will be slightly on the salty side, which is why the barley is there to help balance it out.
Ease: Not a difficult salad to make even though there are a couple of cooking components. You are, however, just boiling the barley and roasting the carrots. Assembly is easy too for this recipe as it just all goes on a plate.
Time: This recipe has a 40 minute cook time of which is just boiling the barley. While that is occurring, roast the carrots and prepare the rest of the ingredients.
You will no doubt have more time on your hands as you wait for the barley to cook so you can cook the rest of your dinner too.
Pearl barley: Every Asian grocer sells pearl barley, and they are easy to find. The dried vegetable/grain aisles of your supermarket will stock them and, of course, in any health food store.
You can use leftover barley to make a sweet barley drink with pears just like they in Southeast Asia or make some lamb barley stew for another dinner.
Snow pea sprouts: These delicate sprouts make for the perfect addition to a salad without having to use lettuce or mixed leaves. Its stalk is a little crunchy, and the leaves are little flutters of joy. They are ever so fresh, and they do keep quite well too.
Pepitas: These pepitas don’t need to be roasted. Just have them as they are as you sprinkle them over the salad.
Almonds: For additional crunch, add some chopped roasted almonds to complement those nutty, earthy flavours of the purple carrot.
Purple carrot: Stunning to look at, delicious to eat and ever so healthy to consume, these purple carrots are delicious. They appear in abundance during the cooler months, and every market or grocer should be stocking them.
Lemon: As part of the marinade to provide some acidity to the flavours.
White miso paste: This Japanese umami paste is fantastic to be used as a marinade and glazes perfectly in the oven. These fermented soybeans are so flavoursome, creating amazing flavours with the rest of the recipe.
Honey: Nothing better than a honey glaze, too, so by adding some honey to the umami flavours of the miso, it works incredibly well together.
Tamari: Complementing the miso paste, tamari provides salty finishes to the marinade.
Rice vinegar: This is a vinegar made from fermented rice. Unlike other kinds of vinegar, it is sweeter and more delicate. We don’t want to take away all the other flavours by dousing it with regular vinegar.
Olive oil: For both roasting purposes and the marinade.
Salt and pepper: To taste
How to Make the Salad
In a small saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to the boil. Add ¾ pearl barley, season with a little salt to taste and bring down to low heat. Boil for 40 minutes. When finished, drain and quickly run through under cold water and then set aside to cool and dry.
Cut the snow pea sprouts in half.
Chop some almonds to yield 1 tbsp.
How to Roast Purple Carrot
Preheat the oven to 180°C or 360°F.
No need to peel the carrots. Cut the purple carrots into discs about 1cm in thickness.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix the white miso paste, honey, tamari and rice vinegar. Mix until well combined, and there are no lumps of miso left.
Add the purple carrot and coat them thoroughly.
Baste a sheet pan with 1 tsp of olive oil.
Place the purple carrots on the sheet pan and put in the oven for 25 minutes.
How to Assemble the Salad
Leave 1 tbsp of cooked barley and a few stalks (leaf end) of snow pea sprouts to the side.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the cooked pearl barley and snow pea sprouts. Add 1 tsp olive oil and the juice of ½ lemon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss well.
Put the tossed salad on a nice serving platter.
Sprinkle the top with the pepitas and chopped almonds.
Then place the roasted purple carrots on top.
Garnish with the barley and snow pea sprouts that was set aside at the beginning on top of the purple carrots.
Variations and Substitutions
Carrot type: Any coloured carrots would work in this recipe if you’re unable to find purple carrots. The miso glaze works well with any variety.
Pepita replacement: You can use sunflower seeds instead of pepitas.
Almond substitute: You can substitute the almonds with almost any chopped nuts. You can even use a variety if you have some around the house and you want to use them up.
Barley replacement: You can substitute the pearl barley with freekeh, bulgur or Israeli couscous.
Snow pea sprouts substitute: If you can’t find snow pea sprouts, try broccoli sprouts or microgreens. What you’re after here is something a little delicate to offset the heavy barley and dense carrot to create different textures.
Vegan option: Use maple syrup, organic rice malt syrup or melted brown sugar in the marinade instead of honey.
Great Mains for This Salad
Salisbury steak: An easy low carb keto Salisbury steak recipe, topped with a rich mushroom gravy! Ready in 30 minutes, this healthy Salisbury steak makes a fast and delicious weeknight meal. Mop up the delicious gravy with the pearl barley and enjoy the lovely miso glazed carrots with this main meal.
Spatchcock recipe: A basic spatchcock chicken recipe, seasoned with just salt and pepper! Plus, a step-by-step guide on how to spatchcock a chicken so you can get it right from the first time, and useful tips on how to perfectly roast a chicken in a cast iron pan! And all good spatchcock recipe deserves an equally delicious salad! These purple carrots and barley will do just the trick!
Korean beef short ribs: These are deliciously fall-off-the-bone tender that take less than 5 mins of prep work. These Korean Beef Short Ribs are a great option for elegant suppers, homemade takeaways and easy lunches too. Serve it up with this miso glazed purple carrots for the perfect finish!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can find pearl barley in the grain section of your supermarket. Walmart, Tesco, Woolworths and Coles all stock them. You can also find pearl barley in all Asian grocery stores and health food stores.
Miso paste is becoming increasingly easy to find and can be considered a staple item in regular supermarkets. They are usually found in the Asian section of the supermarket, and for those who have a specific Japanese section, you’ll find them there.
They are usually in a soft packet, a rectangular plastic tub like margarine or a cylindrical jar like a jam. There are a few types of miso paste, so be sure to look out for labels that say shiro miso, white miso or soybean paste, white.
This salad should ideally be served warm or at least at room temperature. This way, the barley stays fluffy, the smokiness of the miso glazed is enjoyed when it’s still hot, and the snow pea sprouts remain its freshness.
I adore miso glazed vegetables, and roasting these purple carrots certainly didn’t disappoint.
It also meant that the intense umami flavours of the purple carrots allowed me to create a salad with no dressing so we could enjoy its fantastic flavours. Place them over a bed of pearl barley and sprinkle with pepitas and almonds for some extra crunch.
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Miso Glazed Purple Carrot Salad and Barley
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- In a small saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to the boil. Add ¾ pearl barley, season with a little salt to taste and bring down to low heat. Boil for 40 minutes. When finished, drain and quickly run through under cold water and then set aside to cool and dry.
- Cut the snow pea sprouts in half.
- Chop some almonds to yield 1 tbsp.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°F.
- No need to peel the carrots. Cut the purple carrots into discs about 1 cm in thickness.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix the white miso paste, honey, tamari and rice vinegar. Mix until well combined, and there are no lumps of miso left.
- Add the purple carrot and coat them thoroughly.
- Baste a sheet pan with 1 tsp of olive oil.
- Place the purple carrots on the sheet pan and put in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Leave 1 tbsp of cooked barley and a few stalks (leaf end) of snow pea sprouts to the side.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the cooked pearl barley and snow pea sprouts. Add 1 tsp olive oil and the juice of ½ lemon. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss well.
- Put the tossed salad on a nice serving platter.
- Sprinkle the top with the pepitas and chopped almonds.
- Then place the roasted purple carrots on top.
- Garnish with the barley and snow pea sprouts that was set aside at the beginning on top of the purple carrots.
- Any coloured carrots will work in this recipe if you’re unable to find purple carrots. The miso glaze works well with any variety.
- You can use sunflower seeds instead of pepitas.
- You can substitute the almonds with almost any chopped nuts. You can even use a variety if you have some around the house and you want to use them up.
- You can substitute the pearl barley with freekeh, bulgur or Israeli couscous.
- If you can’t find snow pea sprouts, try broccoli sprouts or microgreens. What you’re after here is something a little delicate to offset the heavy barley and dense carrot to create different textures.
- Don’t mix the roasted purple carrot in with the barley, as it will stain it. Hence why it’s placed on top in the end.
- For a vegan option, use maple syrup, organic rice malt syrup or melted brown sugar in the marinade instead of honey.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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