Need a healthy lunch you can make ahead of time and eat for several days? Try this Barley Salad with Black Beans, Avocado, and Corn.
Even though I work out of a home office, I find myself not wanting to spend a lot of time making lunch. Sometimes, I don’t even want to take time out to eat lunch! High-fiber salads, just sitting in the refrigerator waiting to be scooped onto a serving plate, are my kind of meal on a busy day.
Barley Salad Variations
The best thing about this recipe is its versatility.
- Gluten-free? Substitute cooked brown rice or another gluten-free grain for the barley.
- Short on time? Use a bottled citrus-based vinaigrette and skip step one.
- Don’t like black beans? Any type of bean will do.
- Like things spicy? Add some minced jalapeño.
- Want to cut back on the carbs? Reduce your portion size or use less of the beans, corn, and/or barley.
- juice of 1 orange (about ¼ cup)
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or fruit-flavored white balsamic vinegar (I used pomegranate)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or citrus-flavored extra virgin olive oil (I used Persian lime)
- 1 cup cooked barley, cooled (from ⅓ cup dry)
- One (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 1 medium avocado, pitted, peeled, and chopped
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- Make dressing: Whisk together orange juice, vinegar, cumin, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper until well-combined. While whisking, add olive oil in a steady stream.
- Make salad: In a large bowl, gently mix together barley, black beans, corn, scallions, red pepper, and cilantro (if using). Add dressing and toss to combine. If serving later, refrigerate.
- Add finishing touches: Add avocado to salad and serve with lime wedges.
Too many carbs? Reduce your serving size or cut back on the amount of barley, black beans, and/or corn.
Time-saving tip: Use a citrusy store-bought vinaigrette and skip the first step.