There is something about this winter, because I am super into salads. Generally I hunker down in the winter and just want to eat mass amounts of carbs and big dishes of comfort food. Perhaps my body is feeling better about itself since I am making a conscientious effort to exercise and get outside more often. Therefore, I am actually craving veggie and grain packed salads for the first winter in history. Not that I’d turn down a big helping of shepherd’s pie if it was in front of me..
If you are a regular reader, you’ll notice that this is the first actual recipe with beets in it. I know, kind of weird, right? I have had beets before in the past, but wasn’t a particular fan. Perhaps my tastes are changing or perhaps they were just cooked right and in the right dish. Whatever the reason, the beets were the perfect addition to the salad. Plus, the beets make the potatoes and carrots a beautiful pink. Everything about this salad was perfection. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. You can mix things up too if you prefer. Leave the chicken out if you want to go vegetarian. Maybe add some fish or tofu if you’re into that. Avocado would be an excellent addition as well. I served this salad with big hunks of homemade ciabatta bread (recipe to come soon) for a healthy, hearty dinner. And, because I take advantage of serving bread whenever I can. Double the recipe to have enough for lunch all week. Just refrigerate all the ingredients separately and put together right before serving. A beautiful, bright and cheery salad to kick those winter (snow) blues, and to welcome spring.
Recipe adapted from Healthyish
For the salad
- 1 lb. chicken tenders
- 3 large beets, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 5 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 2 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 3 sprigs of rosemary, minced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- salt and pepper
- 5 ounces butter lettuce
- feta cheese
For the pearl barley
- 5 cups water
- 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the cider dijon vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Have ready a large rimmed baking sheet and a small baking sheet lined with tinfoil. Place the beets, carrots, potato, and garlic in a large bowl. Toss the vegetables with the oil, rosemary, oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Spread the vegetables out on the baking sheet in an even layer. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken tenders and place on the small baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast, tossing the vegetables a few times, until tender when poked with a fork, and the chicken is cooked all the way through, 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven. Once the chicken is cool, shred with two forks.
- Meanwhile, cook the pearl barley. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Stir in the barley and salt. Cover the pot and bring to a boil again. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the barley is tender, 20-25 minutes. Drain any remaining liquid. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
- To make the dressing, pour all the ingredients into a large measuring cup or jar. Shake or whisk well until completely combined.
- To serve, place a layer of lettuce in the serving bowls. Then, layer with the barley, roasted vegetables, shredded chicken, and feta cheese. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and serve immediately.