I know a lot of you are getting ready for bathing suit wearing, lemonade drinking, and all of the other things that come with summer but down south we’re all pulling out our fuzzy sweatshirts and wool socks.
Salads are one of the things I love about the warm half of the year. You can throw in whatever you want and it’s a great way to take advantage of all of the fresh produce available, but in the fall and winter it’s not as appealing to eat cold veggies. I don’t know about you, but I crave cozy meals when I’m cold and warm salads are just that, super cozy. They still have the benefit of having lots of nutrition but also help warm you up.
So barley, how do you feel about barley? I’ve always been a big fan and I’ve never understood why it’s not so popular. It’s like rice’s nerdy cousin that no one remembers. Why is that? It has awesome texture and that slight chewy bite to it that I love. When I was little my favorite canned soup was barley beef and of course the barley was my favorite part. I just think we should all eat more barley.
Also, brussels sprouts, what’s the deal people? They’re so stinkin’ yummy! They have such a horrible rep and, yeah, I guess I get that if you were forced to eat bowls and bowls of slimy, overcooked ones as a kid then you may not be all over them, but the rest of you, give them a chance. What did brussels sprouts ever do to you? Look, you don’t have to love them, you just need to be on friendly terms with them.
This salad is definitely worth trying. You could serve it as a main course or a side and it’s vegan optional. Just skip the chicken and you’re all good. It’s pretty easy too and guaranteed to make you all cozy and warm.
- 2 cups cooked barley
- 1/2 of 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced into cubes
- 2 cups brussels sprouts, ends and dead leaves trimmed (smaller ones are best)
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 2/3 cup pomegranite arils
- 1 cup cooked chicken breast, chopped (optional)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- salt & black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 C) and toss squash and sprouts in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and pour out onto baking tray lined with foil or parchment. Spread evenly and place in oven to roast for 30 to 40 minutes until squash is fork tender.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add remaining olive oil, barley, and chicken and stir for about 1 minute to warm. Add sprouts, squash, and remaining ingredients and gently toss to coat.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.