I never really liked cooking until I got married and no longer wanted us to be eating out all of the time. I would make my lunch for work to save money and eat healthier, but I didn’t really do anything too fancy or get any joy out of doing it. Now I love cooking and truly enjoy testing new recipes out on my husband and boys. They are the best guinea pigs—my husband will try to take it easy on me when a new recipe doesn’t quite come out right, but my 3 toddlers have no mercy. They now have a system where they will give me a thumbs up or a thumbs down if they approve—sometimes I get one thumb up and one thumb down which I believe means that they didn’t like it but don’t want to hurt mommy’s feelings! This particular recipe is definitely not one that I choose to serve to my toddlers because I already know the rating they would give it—it is way too complex and texture-rich for the palate of 3 toddler boys to understand. My husband on the other hand…
I know when my husband really likes something when he requests it. My hubby is a super laid back guy and he usually ok with me just making the menu for the week and his consuming it, but every so often he will request something. And this particular recipe is something he will ask me to make for him! It is usually something that he requests when he is in the mood for a salad and wanting to keep his calories in check, but still wants something that is filling and won’t leave him hungry in a couple of hours.
I have adopted a vegetarian diet a few times in my life, most recently in the first half of 2018. I am currently not a vegetarian, but still like to frequently eat vegetarian or meatless meals. I found this recipe shortly after having my twins and trying to cook healthy for me and my husband to help lose the baby weight (yes he gained weight while I was pregnant too). It is such a great salad with amazing textures and flavors and it is something that my hubby and I enjoy frequently. I am definitely not a recipe creator, but I love to take recipes I find online and make them my own! The original recipe calls for butternut squash which I have never really been a fan of so I swap that out for sweet potato which to me gives it a much nicer flavor. I am still trying to perfect my poached egg making skills so I usually end up putting a fried or over easy egg on top instead of the poached egg the original recipe calls for. To me it is even better than the original, but the original recipe is great too if it fits your taste.
For my family, this salad is best as a dinner salad because it is pretty hard to prepare a fresh egg at work and for that reason it’s not an ideal salad to pack and take to work. The runniness of the yolk is simply amazing in this salad and adds so much flavor and creaminess. If you don’t like egg yolk you can make your egg however you want, but I wouldn’t omit it completely because you will want the protein it provides. You can even prepare everything in advance except for the egg—you will want that to be fresh and warm! I make the sweet potato, barley, and dressing for this salad in advance and I’m able to put this salad together for dinner in less than 5 minutes on a weeknight.
So are you a vegetarian? Or a meat eater who enjoys a vegetarian meal sometimes? Or even just someone who loves a good salad? Give this recipe a try and let me know how you make it your own!
Sweet Potato and Barley Salad with Fried Egg
- 1 cup barley
- 3 cups water (you may need more or less water depending upon the directions on the brand of barley you choose)
- 2 medium sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into medium-sized chunks)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- a pinch 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
- 4 cups arugula
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 4 eggs fried or over easy
- 2 oz shaved parmesan
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- 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 to 1 hour.
- Toss cut sweet potato with cinnamon, nutmeg, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes or until tender.
- Prepare the vinaigrette by whisking together vinegar with maple syrup and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss together barley with roasted squash, arugula, and dried arugula with vinaigrette. Divide onto 4 plates. Top with poached egg and shaved parmesan. Serve.