Pea and Barley Salad

The number of cookbooks in my house is nothing short of ridiculous – and yet, they continue to grow despite occasionally finding one that I don’t remember ever buying or reading. Once I get over the guilt, it’s like nerdy foodie Christmas.

The other day, my son found some such gem hidden in with the rarely touched board games. The Healthy Life Cookbook, probably purchased well before I really cared about such things, was covered in a thin layer of dust – I swear I don’t remember how or when it got into my house. But, with renewed enthusiasm, I pored over the recipes, and stopped dead in my tracks at this one. Barley? Feta cheese? Spinach? I’m in!


At 311 calories for a hearty serve (this recipe yields 4 serves), it’s filling enough for a light dinner, and absolutely perfect for a work lunch. I did learn the hard way, however, to sprinkle the cheese on as you go if you plan on it lasting more than two days (it really doesn’t last much longer than that anyway, but you don’t need slimy feta ruining your Tuesday). Sounds obvious as hell now, but oh well… live and learn.

Ingredients

2 cups vegetable stock

250g frozen peas

3 radishes, diced

40g baby spinach

1/2 cup raw pearl barley

70g Greek feta

Dressing

1tbs olive oil

2tbs red wine vinegar

2tsp dried mint

1 clove minced garlic

Black pepper, to serve

Method

  1. Bring stock to boil over a high heat in a medium saucepain. Boil peas for 4 minutes or until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and combine with radishes.
  2. Add barley to the stock, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 40 minutes or until barley is tender and stock has been absorbed.
  3. Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and set aside.
  4. Remove pan from heat. Stir in radishes, baby spinach and peas, then add the dressing. Crumble feta over the salad and season with generous cracks of black pepper.

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Deluxe Greek Salad

There’s really no other way of saying it – Summers in Sydney suck. It’s not just hot – it’s scorching, muggy and unrelenting down here in Satan’s armpit.

Not exactly the best conditions for food-spiration. Who wants to turn on the oven or stove when it’s been 40 degrees for weeks on end? But also, who wants another bloody salad?

That would be me.

There’s no such thing as too many salads. Salads are magical. However, I do feel the need to change it all up a bit. While I could eat salad five nights in a row, it cannot be the same salad. Hence all the varieties on this blog, with more to come, I can guarantee it.

I’m really rather partial to this particular salad, as it takes all of 5 minutes to make, barely uses any heat, and is hearty enough that you don’t need to serve it with bread, although nobody would fault you if you did. It’s a 250 calorie salad, 329 with the dressing. As I’m not a huge fan of salad dressings or vinaigrette, I usually skip it altogether, but I am well aware that I am an anomaly in this situation.

serves 4

Ingredients

1tsp olive oil

500g heart smart diced lamb

Salt and pepper, to taste

150g mushrooms

60g baby spinach

1 yellow capsicum, sliced

1 cucumber, sliced

250g cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

2 small beetroot, roasted (or, purchased pickled), cut into small chunks

60g feta

Dressing

1tbs olive oil

1tbs lemon juice

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/2tsp brown sugar

Method

  1. To make dressing, place ingredients in a small jug and whisk to combine.
  2. Heat oil in a frying pan. Season meat with salt and pepper. Add meat and mushrooms to pan, and stir occasionally until lamb is cooked to your liking.
  3. Combine all other ingredients except for feta together in a large bowl.
  4. Add lamb and mushrooms. Sprinkle with crumbled feta.

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