So many health benefitsThis Mediterranean Lentil and Barley Salad can help to lower your cholesterol, blood sugar and weight. It can also help reduce inflammation in your body and reduce your risk of cancer. Even though it’s not low in carbs, every ingredient has a low glycemic index, so it’s a super blood-sugar friendly salad, side, or meal. And, even though it’s not low in fat, the fat in the nuts, seeds, and olive oil all help to reduce inflammation in your body.
- Barley is one of my favorite grains. It’s a low GI grain that’s packed with soluble fiber- the kind that lowers your cholesterol and blood sugar.
- Because the barley is cooked and cooled before it’s eaten, much of the starch turns to resistant starch, which helps feed your healthy gut bacteria.
- Lentils are one of the best sources of plant protein and another excellent source of fiber. Adding about 1/2 cup to your diet a few times each week promotes better gut health and can even help you lose weight.
- Cinnamon is one of the spices in this salad, it helps reduce blood sugar.
- Dried apricots are one of the lowest GI fruits, and they’re full of the antioxidant beta-carotene.
- The pumpkin seeds, pistachios, and olive oil are all heart-healthy fats. They reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and inflammation throughout your body.
Mediterranean Lentil and Barley Salad
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt (divided)
- 1/2 cup barley
- 1/2 cup brown lentils
- 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
- 2 tablespoons roasted pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
- 1/4 cup chopped dried figs
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup minced fresh mint
- 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese (optional)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- salt and ground pepper
- Combine the water, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and barley in a large saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and let the barley simmer for 30 minutes or until it's tender.
- Put the lentils and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a second pot, and cover the lentils with about 2-inches of water and bring them to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and let the lentils cook for about 15 minutes or until tender.
- When both are cooked, drain off any remaining liquid, and rinse them well in a colander under cold water.
- Place the lentils and barley in a large mixing bowl. Add the pistachios, pumpkin seeds, apricots, figs, parsley and mint. Toss lightly to combine.
- Add the goat cheese (or skip it if you want to keep this recipe vegan)
- To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Shake it or whisk well. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss lightly to combine.
- Refrigerate the salad for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours to let the flavors combine.