You would think that anyone with a food blog would always have ample leftovers in the refrigerator for quick dinners and to pack for lunch. You would think my brown-bagged lunches would always be chock-full with all sorts of good food. However, you'd be wrong. For whatever reason, I usually end up buying my lunch at work about 70% of the time. And while I'm not knocking the pretty decent cafeteria fare, it does end up being expensive and I usually end up eating less-healthy foods than I would have if I would have packed.
This week, I wanted to try and cut back on the amount of food I buy at work and try and pack healthier meals and snacks. That means I needed things that were quick and easy to make, transported well, and would fill me up so I wouldn't be tempted to take a "snack run."
This salad is the perfect brown bagger. The barley is very filling and won't leave you hungry after an hour. It's also a great source of protein and fiber. The mushrooms give it a great earthy taste, and when combined with the flavorful vinaigrette, makes a powerful combination. It is also fairly simple to make and packs easily into your lunch bag.
Hearty Mushroom Barley Salad
1 cup hulled barley
2 1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c chopped onion
2 c fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped (I used Baby Bellas)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1/4 tsp fennel seed, crushed
2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, minced
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small saucepan, combine barley, water, and salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 45 minutes, or until barley is tender. Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat olive oil. Add onion, and saute 1 minute. Add mushrooms and garlic, and saute 3 minutes. Add italian seasoning and fennel seed, and saute until onions are translucent and mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat and place into large bowl. When barley is tender, drain off any remaining liquid and add to bowl. Mix together well. Stir in fresh parsley. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil, and balsamic vinegar. Pour over barley mixture and combine well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or chilled.
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