"Eat more fiber, whole grains and plants."
I say it often on this blog and on my social media accounts because study after study indicates that plant-based diets are the best for overall longterm health and disease prevention. I try to incorporate these elements into the recipes I share, and this week's Autumn Barley, Lentil and Apple Salad has all of them!
There is definitely something to be said about eating fresh seasonal ingredients. Autumn conjures up images of rich, organic earth and all the magnificent colors associated with harvesting. The food I love to cook with mirrors those same characteristics and colors. That was the inspiration behind this week's post. The rich warmth of the earthy green lentils and festive reds of fresh picked apples and cream colored barley are so visually appealing. After all, we eat with our eyes as well.
This salad has so much going for it...protein, fiber, iron, B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, not to mention cholesterol lowering beta-glucans, from the barley. That's what I love about a plant-based diet! When you consume a variety of plant foods each day you don't have to think about any of that! All you have to do is enjoy the food you're sitting down to eat!
So let's talk about all the layers of flavor and texture.
The creamy lentils, combined with the chewy nutty barley and crisp sweet apples is wonderful by itself. But the dressing is really what brings it all together. This week I also posted about one of my favorite fall dressings that I use in salads like these. You can get that recipe here. But instead of using maple syrup in this recipe, I used honey. Either one works well, but I liked the addition of a little drizzle of honey on top for some extra sweetness.
You can add the lentil salad to mixed greens or lettuce cups for a quick lunch or you can scoop onto some whole grain crackers for a tasty snack to get you through the afternoon!
If you're spending some time at the orchards this weekend, make sure you save an apple or two to make this delicious treat!
Have a great first weekend of fall!
Autumn Barley, Lentil and Apple Salad
- 2 cups cooked green lentils
- 1 cup cooked barley
- 1 cup chopped apples any variety of sweet/tart cubed with skin on
- 1 red onion diced
- 1 celery stalk chopped
- handful fresh parsley roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup of *Favorite Salad Fall Dressing See link above. Note: I used honey instead of maple syrup in this recipe but either is fine to use.
- Combine all solid ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Add the dressing and parsley and toss.
- Season to taste with sea salt, pepper, and a drizzle of extra honey if desired.