A Healthy Start to the New Year (recipe: Wild Rice & Barley Salad)

I am always looking for something filling and healthy for my lunches. When I was going through the latest issue of Cooking Light, this recipe appealed to me immediately. With the addition on the Chick Peas, it has a decent amount of protein. And, with all the whole grains in it, it also has just over 4 grams of fiber. What this means to me is that it will be a filling lunch or late afternoon snack. Adding whole grains to your diet will help reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke and reduce LDL cholesterol, so why not make the effort to give them a try? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

It was very simple to put together. While the rice and barley are simmering, I was able to gather the remaining ingredients and set aside. Fortunately, I had nearly all the ingredients in my pantry, and only had to purchase fresh basil to complete it all. A well-stocked pantry is so important to putting together quick and easy meals. Over the years, I have gotten better about keeping it stocked and making sure that when I am nearing the end of a any particular ingredient, I add it to my shopping list so I can re-stock.

The flavors need time to "marry" together, so don't skimp on the time that the recipe says to refrigerate. The contrast of the crunch of the almonds and the sweetness of the raisins really add something to the rice and barley. This is a recipe I will definitely be making again.

Wild Rice and Barley Salad
Source: Cooking Light, Jan/Feb 2008

1 3/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (you can substitute vegetable broth if you'd like to make this vegetarian)
1/2 cup uncooked brown and wild rice mix
1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley
3/4 cup rinsed and drained canned chickpeas
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons extravirgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted


Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Spoon rice mixture into a medium bowl. Add chickpeas, raisins, and green onions.
Combine vinegar and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Pour over barley mixture; toss well. Cover; chill 2 hours. Stir in basil and almonds.

8 servings (serving size: about 2/3 cup)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 146(14% from fat); FAT 2.3g (sat 0.3g,mono 1.3g,poly 0.6g); PROTEIN 5g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 29mg; SODIUM 235mg; FIBER 4.3g; IRON 1.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 27.6g (Calculates to 2 Weight Watchers Points)


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