I created this dish in an effort to find something I can pack and bring to work for lunch that will keep me feeling full. Nothing undoes the hard work of eating a healthy diet quicker than a growling tummy. Studies have shown that barley contains dietary fiber that can slow glucose absorption and control blood sugar levels. I've used it as the base for the dish along with nutrient-packed veggies and lean protein. I suggest serving the salad at room temperature.
- 1 cup barley
- 3 cups chicken stock, fat free & low sodium
- 1⁄2 lb chicken breast, on the bone, skin on
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- cracked black pepper
- garlic powder
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 9 ounces Baby Spinach, one pre-washed bag
- 1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1⁄4 cup red onion, finely diced
- 1⁄2 cup kalamata olive, pitted and halved
- 1⁄2 cup reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon Italian dressing
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Add barley and chicken stock to a medium pot. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Set aside.
- Place the chicken breast in a roasting pan, skin side up. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add about ¼ cup of water to the bottom of the pan. Roast at 400 degrees for 35 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160-165 degrees. Once the chicken is cool, discard the skin and bones and cut into cubes. Set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and garlic to a deep pot. Cook garlic on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add spinach and crushed red pepper flakes. Saute until spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the barley, cubed chicken, wilted spinach, grape tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, feta cheese and Italian dressing. Stir together and re-season if necessary. Serve at room temperature.
This is a wonderful recipe. As a newbie vegetarian I used water instead of broth and omitted the chicken. Also added much more olive oil and italian dressing for moistness and flavor. HEAVENLY!
This was YUMMY!!! Have to admit I made a fair number of changes though. Instead of doing steps 1-3, I roasted the barley because I find the texture is much firmer that way. I also bought a package of precooked presliced Hormel Naturals chicken breast. The grape tomatoes @ my grocery store didn't impress me, so I used a can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes. I'm not a fan of kalamata olives or reduced fat feta, so I skipped the olives and used 1/2c of regular feta. I also am not a fan of salad dressings, so I skipped that and just sprinkled some dried mint & basil on the finished product. But in the end - this made for a FABULOUS lunch today!! This recipe is DEFINITELY a keeper. Thanks for sharing!