Kale and Barley Salad Bowl with Salmon is a delicious and balanced macro bowl made with raw kale, pearl barley, blueberries, chickpeas and feta cheese. For an extra protein and healthy fat boost, it is served with seared salmon on top.
I have a slight obsession with macro bowls so we tend to have it at least once a week for dinner. They are so easy and versatile, and they usually come together in no time. Just combine healthy greens, whole grains and some lean protein such as fish, chicken or tofu and you got yourself a perfect balanced dinner or lunch.
The best part about macro bowls is that you can get creative with the ingredients! For this one, I wanted to use raw kale and pearl barley. I also wanted something salty (feta cheese), something sweet (blueberries) and extra protein (chickpeas and walnuts). The result is a fresh and flavorful dish that’s filling and all around healthy.
KALE AND BARLEY SALAD BOWL INGREDIENTS
Kale: Fresh curly kale will work best. Just remove the thick stems and tear the leaves into bite size pieces. Raw kale can be a little tough so I suggest you massage it with some olive oil which will soften and slightly wilt the leaves.
Pearl Barley: Just follow the instructions on the package and boil the barley in salted water until tender. Barley has a pleasant, slightly nutty flavor that works so well in grain bowls.
Chickpeas: Make sure to rinse, drain and dry the chickpeas on paper towels. That will make them less starchy and drying will prevent the salad from getting soggy.
Blueberries: Packed with antioxidants and fiber, blueberries taste amazing in this dish and give it an extra nutritional boost.
Walnuts: To give the nuts deeper flavor, toast them in a dry skillet making sure not to burn them. If you prefer, you can use pecans or sunflower seeds for a nut-free version.
Salmon: Use good quality skin on or off salmon fillet. Mine is always local from the Gulf of Maine.
HOW TO ASSEMBLE KALE & BARLEY SALMON BOWL
Step 1: Cook the barley. If the barley doesn’t absorb all the water, just drain it on a sieve or colander to make sure it’s not wet when you add it to the salad. It usually takes about 20 minutes to cook barley.
Step 2: Make the Vinaigrette Dressing. My favorite way to make this dressing is placing everything in a small jar and shaking until all ingredients form nice, thick, emulsified sauce. Set it aside and give it another quick shake right before you pour it into the salad.
Step 3: Massage the kale with oil, add the cooled barley, all other ingredients except for salmon and avocado and toss with ¾ of the dressing. I like to hold off with the avocado until the end to make sure that it doesn’t become mushy and holds its shape.
Step 4: Sear the salmon. I cut the salmon into 1-portion pieces, sprinkle with garlic salt and sear it in a cast iron skillet with some avocado oil.
Step 5: Assemble. Place the salad in a bowl, top with seared salmon, arrange avocado slices around the salmon and drizzle with some more dressing.
IS BARLEY HEALTHY?
In short: yes! Though it’s not as widely used as brown rice or quinoa, this whole grain packs an impressive number of nutrients and is a good source of fiber, selenium, magnesium, niacin and vitamin B1. Pearl barley actually has twice the calcium and fiber compared to brown rice so it is truly a superfood! Plus, it’s delicious and I love its texture.
KALE AND BARLEY SALAD MEAL PREP TIPS
The nice thing about kale and grain salads is that they will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days even when dressed. If you want to make this salad as meal prep, you can divide it into airtight containers and top with seared salmon. The salmon will be cold when you are ready to eat it but it will still taste great. I recommend adding freshly sliced avocado right before serving because avocado tends to get brown quickly.
MORE HEALTHY DINNER IDEASPrint
Kale and Barley Salad with Seared Salmon is a delicious and balanced macro bowl made with raw kale, pearl barley, blueberries, chickpeas and feta cheese. For an extra protein and healthy fat boost, it is served with seared salmon on top.
4-5 oz kale, torn into small pieces, thick stems removed
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup sliced red onion
½ cup dry pearl barley
½ cup shelled walnuts
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed in cold water and drained
12 oz piece of salmon
2 tsp of olive oil
1 tbsp avocado or canola oil for searing
Sea salt and black pepper
Lemon Honey Vinaigrette
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp white wine or apple cider vinegar
2 tsp honey
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic, pressed or minced
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
- Cook the barley according to instructions on the package in salted water (usually about 20 minutes). Set aside to cool.
- Make the vinaigrette dressing. Place all dressing ingredients into a small jar, close the lid and shake vigorously. Set aside. You can also whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl.
- Place the kale in a large bowl and drizzle with 2 teaspoon of olive oil. Making sure your hands are clean, massage the kale with your fingers until it looks a little wilted and shiny.
- Add all salad ingredients except for salmon and avocado. Gently toss together with about ¾ of the dressing. Set aside.
- Sear the salmon. Cut the salmon into 4 equal pieces and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. In a heavy skillet (I like to use cast iron) heat the oil and sear the salmon over medium high, about 3-4 minutes per side until nicely seared. If you like your salmon more done, you can sear it a little longer but be careful not to overcook it or it will be dry.
- Assemble the bowls. Divide the kale barley salad between 4 bowls, top with seared salmon and avocado slices. Drizzle the remaining dressing on top.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: dinner
Keywords: macro bowl, salmon bowl, kale salad, barley, grain bowl