Barley Kale Salad with Dried Cranberries and Almonds

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When I’ve been “meal planning” lately (and I use that term loosely since we can’t plan for anything anymore with a new baby!), I look for meals that are one-pot meals, quick to make, and quick to eat. One of us is usually juggling the little one while the other cooks and eats, and I’ve even managed to eat pasta salad with one hand, standing up, while bouncing Zachary and wearing him in the carrier at the same time. It was like a meal and a workout in one, and I probably dropped pasta salad on his head.

This recipe for barley kale salad caught my eye because the photo is gorgeous and I knew it’d make the perfect one pot meal. Trader Joe’s now has organic chopped kale, which made this recipe even easier. I omitted a few ingredients I didn’t have on hand and managed to whip up the meal (and write this blog post!) while my little guy was napping. Click here for the original and full recipe.

Ingredients:

1 bag quick cooking barley found at Trader Joes (1.5c dry)

1+ cups dried cranberries

4 big handfuls of kale, chopped

1 large handful of sliced almonds

2 cups of shelled, pre-cooked edamame (found frozen at Trader Joe’s)

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

a splash of olive oil

a splash of lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Cook the barley (just 10 minutes with the quick cooking kind). Once it’s cooked and drained, put it into a large bowl and mix in the chopped kale. The heat from the barley will wilt the kale a little. Mix in cranberries, almonds, and edamame. I cooked the edamame on the stove for a few minutes because it was frozen.

Whisk together vinegar, oil, and lemon juice and pour over barley. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The lemon juice brightens up the whole dish that I think is best served slightly warmed or at room temperature, but is just as good cold as leftovers. And thank goodness for leftovers. I’m a huge fan of any grain salad that has dried fruit and nuts in it – love that combo. And this dish is super protein and fiber packed, which means it kept us satisfied while we bounced and rocked and sang to Zachary for the rest of the night.

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