Barley salad with roasted fall vegetables.

I’ve been on a PB&J kick for lunch for the past 2 weeks or so. (While we were on vacation, a quick PB&J really satisfied, right before we headed to the beach or the golf course.)  Don’t get me wrong: My love of the PB&J knows no bounds, especially since I make it with good whole-grain bread, natural peanut butter and homemade jam. But the PB&J and I need a little break, lunch-wise.

I was craving a hearty, grain-based lunchtime salad, something I could put together easily with ingredients I had on hand. Hence, this recipe for barley salad with roasted fall vegetables. I started with pearled barley, cooked in vegetable broth in about 15 minutes. I roasted up some fall veggies I had on hand: green beans (roasted green beans: seriously!!!), red bell pepper and potatoes. While everything was still warm, I tossed the salad with a simple lemon vinaigrette — my go-to salad dressing recipe.

This barley salad recipe came together in about 40 minutes, most of it unattended time. It yields 4 servings, enough to enjoy for lunch all week.

If you’re in a lunchtime rut, and looking for healthy, packable lunch recipes, give this a try.

healthful lunchtime barley and vegetable salad recipe

makes 4 lunch servings

1 cup pearled barley
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cups roasted vegetables of your choice (I used bell pepper, green beans and potatoes), cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Easy lemon vinaigrette dressing
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2–3 ounces Feta or fresh goat cheese, crumbled

In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable broth, salt and olive oil to a boil; add the barley, reduce heat and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the barley is al dente, about 15 minutes; let the barley sit for 5 minutes, then drain off any excess liquid. In a large bowl, combine the barley and roasted vegetables; add the parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle the barley and vegetables while they're still warm with the dressing and toss to combine. When the salad cools a bit, add the cheese crumbles.

Note: To roast the vegetables, preheat oven to 450°. On a rimmed baking sheet large enough to hold the vegetables without crowding, toss 3–4 cups of vegetables, cut into bit-sized pieces, with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Season well with kosher salt. Roast, turning once or twice, until the vegetables are charred and crisp-tender, about 30–40 minutes. (Potatoes and carrots may take longer.)

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