When I started my job a few months ago I decided that instead of having sandwiches everyday which can get a bit boring, I would start making interesting salads for myself a few days a week instead. As a PhD student I would work from home most of the time and eat whatever I felt like having at the time, this often involved cheese on toast and less often some kind of salad depending on what was in the fridge.
After making various different salads with lentils, beans or barley over the past couple of months to keep me going all afternoon, I decided that this barley salad was my favourite. There’s nothing fancy here and pearl barley is a very cheap ingredient (not just for stews), handy when I was in my first month of work and absolutely skint awaiting my first pay day. On days when I’ve not been very organised, and now that I am less skint, I have bought salads for lunch from the campus shop or the nearby M&S garage and have always found them to be either too salty or not very exciting. This is enough motivation for me to make sure that I keep on making my own lunchbox salads because they taste better and I know exactly what’s in them.
- 150g pearl barley dry weight, cooked according to packet instructions, drained and cooled
- 4 large handfuls of mixed salad leaves
- 1 medium cucumber, diced
- 4 spring onions, finely sliced
- 300g cooked beetroot, diced
- 220g cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 200g feta cheese, cubed
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp cider vinegar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
- Place the salad leaves in a large serving dish or divide between tupperware boxes then top with the barley, spring onion, cucumber, beetroot, tomatoes and feta.
- Whisk together the olive oil, cider vinegar and seasoning, drizzle the dressing over the salad then sprinkle over the chopped mint.
- If preparing this for lunchboxes pour the dressing into a small screw top pot and pour over the salad when you're ready to eat. This stops the leaves from going soggy and prevents lunchbox leakages in your bag.
For more lunchbox salad inspiration check out these recipes:
For more inspiration cooking with pearl barley try these ideas: