inspiration-driven kitchen: barley salad with chicken

Although my brief stint in personal training is finished, I still get constant encouragement and inspiration from my friend-turned-trainer-turned-friend-again Lydia. She’s a gem and can rattle off healthy meal ideas like no one else.

And so, credit where credit is due, this recipe was suggested by the admirably healthy and oh-so-sweet Lydia. And friends, this recipe was a hit.

All the food groups are represented here, and the flavors get all married up. Magic.

I chose barley for this recipe. Barley is a fun little grain. When cooked, it’s the color of oatmeal and the texture of a heartier brown rice. It has a subtle, Earthy flavor and easily adapts to  the flavors of its fellow ingredients. And while it isn’t difficult to cook, it does require some advance planning. Soak for a day or so before you want to cook it. I like submerging mine in a covered container of water, then refrigerating it. Stovetop soaking works too.

Barley salad with chicken, feta, olives & cranberries


Four servings of your favorite grain — brown rice, couscous, quinoa or barley will work — prepared according to package directions
1/3 cup feta cheese
1 chicken breast
1/2 cup black olives, sliced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil, for drizzling
salt & pepper to taste


After the grain is cooked, transfer to a bowl to cool. (If you’re pressed for time, stick the grain in the refrigerator for a few minutes as you prepare the rest of the ingredients.)

Since I found it a few weeks ago, the only method I’ve used to cook chicken breast is this one. So I prepared my chicken breast using that foolproof method.

While the chicken is cooking: Add the black olives, feta cheese and dried cranberries to the cooled grain. Add the olive oil to the mixture little by little; combine it all with a fork.

When chicken is ready, chop into slices or bite-sized chunks. Combine; add additional olive oil if necessary.

To make things less healthy, I might pair it with a good chardonnay. Just saying.

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One thought on “inspiration-driven kitchen: barley salad with chicken

  1. Pingback: inspiration-driven kitchen: how to start meal planning (part one) « inspiration-driven life

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