Well, sadly for many of us the holidays are over and we’re making our way back to work which can often be a bit of a tricky time when it comes to healthy eating. I thought I’d share this salad with you as it’s what I’m packing in my lunchbox this week. It’s simple, delicious and packed full of the good stuff.
After the decadence of the silly season where far too much chocolate, wine and cheese was consumed I’m pretty keen to get back into my regular routine of eating mainly whole food dishes with the right balance of fats, grains and protein. While sticking with this ethos I’m also trying to be a little more thrifty in the kitchen and use up what we have as much as possible before heading out to restock the fridge. We have a burgeoning supply of dried beans, lentils and grains coupled with a freezer full of frozen vegetables like peas, edamame, corn and broccoli that I bought ‘just in case’ a few weeks ago.
While fresh is always best there is really nothing wrong with eating frozen vegies now and then, especially when you are trying to be a little thrifty or you’ve not had time to go to the market. It is a godsend on those days when you don’t have much going on in the crisper and that’s exactly how this salad came to be in my belly this week. It was literally a raid-the-fridge-and-cupboards-and-see-what-I-come-up-with affair and I liked the results so much I felt it worthy of sharing.
You can chop and change the ingredients to match what you have on hand, to make it vegan sub out the feta and maybe add in some tofu, tempeh or more nuts. Normally I’d be adding in almonds or pine nuts to a salad like this but we were all out so I went with some brazil nuts that were lightly bished in the mortar and pestle and they added just the right amount of crunch. It will keep well in the fridge for a couple of days so make it up the night before and you’ve got lunch sorted for the next few days. The recipe below will easily make 2 large serves, just up everything to make it go further if need be, but just watch the salad greens as they tend to go a little slimy after a couple of days in dressing.
- ½ cup pearl barley, rinsed
- 1.5 cups vegie stock (or water if preferred)
- 2 cups frozen veg - I used corn, green beans & peas
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 5-6 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
- fresh herbs, finely chopped - I used some mint, coriander and chives
- a big handful of baby spinach, washed and finely chopped
- 30g danish feta (*optional)
- 4-5 brazil nuts, lightly chopped
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tbspn olive oil
- red chilli, finely chopped (to taste)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring vegie stock to the boil, add the barley and turn down to cook over a medium heat. Cook until 'al dente' (about 15 minutes) and then add the frozen veg for 2-3 minutes.
- While preparing the barley, chop up the remaining ingredients and set aside.
- Mix up the dressing in an old jam jar or bowl and check seasoning.
- Once barley & veg are done drain excess water and pour into a large bowl. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then add all remaining ingredients except feta and nuts.
- Pour over half the dressing, mix well and taste. Add more dressing if needed and mix well.
- Add the feta and nuts and combine.
- Serve & enjoy!