With the Summer coming to a close, and everyone heading back to work and school, I’ve been scheming up lots of healthy one-bowl meals that pack extra protein, fibre and healthy fats. This recipe started off as a way to use up various bits and pieces of things I had lying around the fridge and in the pantry. For instance, I always keep my pantry well stocked with canned beans, and a variety of whole grains, and I had been itching to try out this barley spelt blend I picked up by Presidents Choice. I also had already roasted up a whole chicken earlier that weekend, and used the dark meat to make my man some Chicken Thai Fried Rice so I had two breasts just waiting in the fridge. I could have easily left them out though and kept this a vegetarian meal since I was getting a lot of protein from the beans and whole grains, so ultimately it’s your fridge, your call.
The result was a bright, lemony, refreshing salad with a really satisfying variety of textures. The al dente chickpeas, the juicy fresh tomatoes and cucumber, the chew of the sundried tomatoes, the nutty supple grains, and the little crunch from the sunflower seeds all came together in delicious harmony. Feel free to add in whatever Mediterranean flavours you have in the house- a nice fresh bell pepper, zucchini, spinach or other greens all would work well here. You could also substitute the seeds for nuts, and the feta for parmigiano reggiano.
This is a perfect packable lunch because it doesn’t need to be reheated and literally has everything you need to get you through Part 2 of a hectic work day.
So tell me friends, what are your favourite meals to bring to lunch?
Mediterranean Chicken, Barley, Chickpea and Tomato Salad
- 1/2 cup barley or barley spelt mixture
- 1 1/2 cups water
- Pinch salt
- 2 cooked skinless, boneless chicken breasts shredded
- 3 mini cucumbers diced
- 2 tomatoes seeded and diced
- 5 sundried tomatoes rehydrated and finely minced
- 3 tbsp reduced fat feta cheese crumbled
- 1/2 tsp sumac
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp mint chiffonade
- Salt to taste
- Put the barley spelt mixture, water and a pinch of salt in a small saucepot. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes until the water has absorbed. Remove from the heat and cool.
- In a large bowl, mix together the cooled grains, chicken, cucumbers, tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, feta, sumac, zest, lemon juice, oil, red pepper flakes, sunflower seeds, mint and a pinch of salt to taste.
- Divide into four portions and enjoy.
Updated on June 11th, 2017
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian (RD), regulated by the Ontario College of Dietitians. She is a mom, YouTuber, Blogger, award winning cookbook author, media coach specializing in food and nutrition influencers, and a frequent contributor to national publications like Healthline and on national broadcast TV shows.