The biggest struggle with my love with food is maintaining a slim waistline. I love healthy foods but I also love my fatty, greasy, heart-attack foods. I'll start the week motivated to eat clean with plenty of vegetables but always find myself ending the week with a more indulgent meal. Does it still count as dieting if I get 2 or 3 cheat days? Well, this butternut squash and barley salad is one of those meals I enjoy at the beginning of the week. With a healthy whole grain like barley, beautifully roasted squash, fresh greens, and sweet cranberries, this salad is light yet satisfying.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
When preparing salads, especially vegetarian salads, I like to add a whole-grain to fill me up. I find that if the salad is composed of almost all vegetables, I get hungry within 2 hours. Adding barley eliminates that issue while still keeping the salad on the healthy side.
We're keeping today's meal vegetarian but you can add any protein you like. Roasted chicken, steak, seared shrimp would all work well, even with the poached egg. If you're looking to prepare this for meal prep, cook the barley ahead of time as well as the butternut squash. Then when it's time to put together the salads, all you have to do is cook the egg.
I admit, this butternut squash and barley salad is more appropriate during the fall and winter because of the apple cider vinaigrette and squash, but I enjoy this year-round. The tender greens with the sweet cranberries, hearty barley, and roasted squash all work perfectly together. Finish it with a runny yolk and shaved parmesan and I'm in heaven!
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