This is an easy and delicious salad that works just as well as a filling dinner as it does as an easy-to-batch-cook work lunch. The flavours and textures are great together plus the mixture of protein sources and complex carbs mean it’s super filling.
I love sweet potato with middle eastern spices and hummus is a natural accompaniment to this. It means you don’t need to make a complicated dressing as the chicken marinade and the hummus do a great job by themselves.
You can buy hummus or make your own, but homemade hummus is so easy and so good you totally have to try it at some stage. Soaking chickpeas isn’t difficult it just means you have to think about it in advance. You can even just do it before you head to work in the morning and then you’ll come home to chickpeas that are ready to use. I love this Ottolenghi recipe, it’s my hummus go to and pretty foolproof!
The flavours on the chicken are so good and bring everything together. Plus the marinade is low effort, as is everything about this recipe. You cook the sweet potato and chicken in the same pan and there’s no need to turn on an oven and roast it. Less dishes is always exciting in my mind… I sound like such an exciting human don’t I?!
If you’re gluten free go ahead and swap the barley for quinoa, it will be delicious I just felt like changing things up a bit because I’m constantly in need of new things. Not new clothes, just new foods. All the new foods.
1 cup pearl barley
400g chicken breast
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp paprika
1 clove garlic, crushed
a pinch of all spice
1/4 tsp chilli
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 sweet potato
2 cups spinach and rocket mixed (or either)
1 cup parsley leaves
1 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup hummus
2 Tbs nuts and seeds to garnish (optional)
Trim Chicken breast and cut off the mini fillet that is attached. Place in a bowl with the 2 tsps of olive oil, cumin, chilli, paprika, oregano, garlic, all spice 1/4 tsp white pepper, 1/4 tsp salt. Allow to marinate while you prep the vegetables.
Wash the pearl barley and then place in a pot with 3 cups of water and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer and cook or 30-35 minutes. Until tender.
Peel the sweet potato and slice into 2mm slices. Set aside.
Peel the carrot then use a mandolin or the vegetable peeler to create long ribbons. Place in a bowl with the parsley leaves, spinach and rocket. Set aside.
Heat a heavy based fry pan. Once hot add the marinated chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Smaller pieces will need less time. Remove from the pan and allow to rest. Add the sweet potato to the chicken pan, turn the heat down and cook, moving frequently, until softened. This should just take a few minutes if cut thin enough.
Allow your pearl barley to cool slightly (spreading on a plate helps speed this up) then toss with the sweet potato, other vegetables, olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice. Season to taste.
Slice the chicken and serve on top of the salad with a generous dollop of hummus and a sprinkle of the nuts and seeds if you’re using them.