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.

butternut squash barley salad

butternut squash barley salad


Serves 4


Butternut squash and barley salad with poached egg

45 minTotal Time

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  • 1 cup barley
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • Squash
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Apple cider vinaigrette
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Remaining ingredients
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 eggs, poached
  • 2 oz shaved Parmesan


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine barley and water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until tender and the water is absorbed, about 45 minutes.
  3. Toss the butternut squash with cinnamon, nutmeg, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until tender.
  4. Prepare vinaigrette by whisking together vinegar with maple syrup and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Toss together barley with roasted squash, arugula, and dried arugula with vinaigrette. Divide onto 4 plates. Top with poached egg and shaved parmesan. Serve.


**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!

butternut squash barley salad


Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.


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