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This is the best recipe yet!!

Full of flavour, full of nutrition and made with love.

I cooked this evening for my friend Dani, it’s been such a long time since we’ve been able to get together and have a proper chat about boys, life, work and food. It required the perfect food for the perfect evening and this is THE perfect meal.

squash and barley salad

squash and barley salad

Dani has lots of little food intolerance’s so I wanted to make her something exciting but it also had to agree with her! I wanted to make the cauliflower rice but decided i’d try something new instead and experiment with barley. I also always enjoy sharing my new food adventures with Dani as she always appreciates GOOD food! Whilst we lived together at University I’d get excited to share new recipes with her and thats why this evening it was such fun to try something new and be able to share it again!

She was arriving late so I was able to prep all my ingredients so they were ready to all throw together and build the salad just before she arrived. This made the recipe very easy.

prep the veg!

prep the veg!

However there are quite a lot of ingredients that you need to have lying around on the shelves – else its not the cheapest recipe.

I love all things with vinegar. So a salad which revolves around its balsamic vinaigrette and is full of olives, capers and sun dried tomatoes – was fabulous!!

I can’t recommend this recipe highly enough! Thank you BBC good food – truly great food!

Sun dried tomatoes and olives ready

Sun dried tomatoes and olives ready

In preparation for this meal I soaked the barley for about 6 hours today before cooking it which helped to soften it so it cooked quicker.

I also managed to find the sun-blush tomatoes they recommended rather than the sun-dried. These ones were slightly softer which makes them nicer to eat in a salad like this. I dont think this is hugely important if you can only find the sun-dried!!

Personally I think the KEY to this recipe was soaking the barley in the dressing for as long as possible – this really infused the whole salad with the vinaigrette without the salad being too wet at the end and turning to mush.


barley soaking

I wouldnt change or add a thing in this recipe. It was delicious from start to finish – it was warming, comfort food yet incredibly healthy. FABULOUS!

Top the salad with a sprinkle of CHIA SEEDS and you are set!

Squash and Barley Salad

Squash and Barley Salad

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into long pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g pearl barley
  • 300g Tenderstem broccoli, cut into medium-size pieces
  • 100g SunBlush tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp small capers, rinsed
  • 15 black olives, pitted
  • 20g pack basil, chopped

For the dressing

  • 5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Place the squash on a baking tray and toss with olive oil. Roast for 20 mins. Meanwhile, boil the barley for about 25 mins in salted water until tender, but al dente. While this is happening, whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Drain the barley, then tip it into a bowl and pour over the dressing. Mix well and let it cool.
  • Boil the broccoli in salted water until just tender, then drain and rinse in cold water. Drain and pat dry. Add the broccoli and remaining ingredients to the barley and mix well. This will keep for 3 days in the fridge and is delicious warm or cold.