08/01/2013 08:49 am ET Updated Oct 01, 2013

How to Make a Blue Ribbon Barley Salad

When you make a grain salad, you need to have a few tricks up your sleeve.

We make and eat a lot of grain salads in the summer, from farro & frisée salad to tabbouleh. With a grain as their base, these salads hit a perfect balance between being light and leaving you totally satisfied. To make a grain salad outstanding, you've got to have texture, you've got to have punch, and you've got to have a well-seasoned dressing.

To make this barley number, we chose four gorgeous vegetables to start: wax beans, healthful yellow beets, a big red onion, and the infamous burpless cucumber (really, that's what it's called). We took those ingredients, prepped and trimmed them, and then threw them into a big mixing bowl with barley -- a nutrient-rich, quick-cooking grain that adds chewiness and heft to the salad.

After we dress the salad and arrange the pretty yellow beets on top, we add the final touch: shavings of pecorino cheese. Pecorino Romano adds nuttiness and an extra point of umami to the crunchy, crispy cucumbers and summery wax beans. Along with a good pinch of salt, the cheese helps to season the dressing and bring all the flavors together.

To get the recipe and check out what we do at Blue Apron, click here.