Who else would like to have a salad that doesn’t only consist of mainly leafy greens, like lettuce, spinach, or kale?

Don’t get me wrong. I love green salads, but sometimes I want something different. Sometimes, I want a healthy salad that’s going to fill up my tank, so I don’t break down 1 hour after lunch.

Of course, you could add some plant protein in them, but why not have a hearty salad that doesn’t involve leafy greens at all? (Not that I’m against them.) And one that’s tantalizing at that?

Well, it’s totally doable. The salad I’ll introduce you today is a mix of lentils, Pearl barley, and sweet potatoes, and I think you’ll be delighted to have it during the summertime.

How Insanely Full You’ll Feel with this Seed Salad

Lentils are so the bomb, yo! I could eat them every day. They’re not only filling but so flavorful. Even on their own with just a little salt. You can prepare them in so many different ways: in soups, salads, veggie burgers, etc.

So, you might already know that lentils are an excellent source of protein. They’re actually part of the three highest plants rich in protein. Yep! When boiled, these seeds contain about 18 g protein per cup. Now, you might not be able to evaluate how good that is so let me explain it to you.

To know how much protein you need per day, you take your weight in kilograms then multiply it by 0.8. You change the units from kilograms to grams and that’s your daily requirement. If you want to stay in pounds, multiply your weight by 0.36.

You usually eat three times a day, right? Divide what you just calculated by three and that’s how much you need per meal if you want to have an equal amount each time.

For example, let’s pretend I weigh 120 lbs. (I said pretend. That’s how much I weighed in my Skeletor days when I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.) Then I would need 43,2 g to meet my daily protein requirement. And If I were to divide that by 3 meals, I would need 14,4 g protein per meal.

Important note! Dividing your protein requirement per meal is just to give you an idea. That’s not the rule. You could have one meal with less or no protein and catch up with other meals.

So now, if I weigh 120 lbs. — and it’s my healthy weight — and I eat a cup of lentils, I would completely meet my protein requirement since they provide 18 g protein/cup. Isn’t that great? I told you lentils were awesome.

As for Pearl barley, they contain 5 g protein per cup, which is half of what pseudo-grains like quinoa, millet and amaranth contain, but it still isn’t bad. If you’re obsessed with protein consumption, you could stick with them. But if you want to change things up a bit, Pearl barley brings something unique to your dishes and variety. If you’ve never had it before, it tastes more like brown rice except it’s harder in texture and has a nuttier flavor.

Another thing to consider is, if you’d like to lose weight, Pearl barley has fewer calories and more fiber than quinoa, brown rice, millet, wild rice, or amaranth.

Anyway, both lentils and Pearl barley are high in dietary fiber, which helps to prevent cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, to lower cholesterol, and to stabilize your blood sugar and digestion.

These seeds combined make a very, very high-protein and filling meal.

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An All Year Round Hearty Sweet Potato Salad Done in Less than 30 min

Lentil, Barley and Sweet Potato Salad - Ingredients

Ok, so July is all about picnics, potlucks, barbecues, and pool parties, right? I wanted to do something that would be a great meal to bring on these occasions and involved roasted sweet potatoes.

So that’s how this recipe begins. I started by roasting sweet potatoes — with the skin on to make it more rustic — with cherry tomatoes in the oven.

Meanwhile, I boiled the Pearl barley and lentils separately. The kinds of lentils I used were cute tiny Beluga lentils I had from another recipe. But you can use Puy (French) lentils or green lentils as well.

At the near end, I steamed broccoli on top of one of the boiling saucepans to save myself some time AND cleaning. If there’s something I hate to do the most is this. So I always try to find clever ways to avoid that, like putting the cover of my food processor in a transparent plastic bag. Ha! Did you know this trick? What?? Call me lazy, I don’t care. ?

To finish up the dish, I prepared a mustard vinaigrette, mixed everything together and voilà! Too easy, huh? You can do all this in 30 min.

The colorful cherry tomatoes, broccoli, and sweet potatoes bring a warm contrast to the earth tones of the lentils and Pearl barley. They bring this seed salad to life. This is a not a salad with a big personality that’d be like: “Look at me!” You’ll first notice the simplicity of balanced flavors.

The salad dressing is light. It’s the only thing that gives the brightness to the dish. You’ll more often get bites of slightly hard lentils and Pearl barley and bites of soft sweet potatoes. Then once in a while, a roasted tomato will surprise you by bursting and releasing all of its juices in your mouth.

This dish is a great salad for lunch at work! You can eat it warm or cold.
You could also put it in burritos, mix in leafy greens like spinach (if you really miss them), or add them in a simple tomato soup.

Lentil, Barley and Sweet Potato Salad

Lentil, Barley and Sweet Potato Salad


Hearty Lentil, Barley and Sweet Potato Salad
Hearty Lentil, Barley and Sweet Potato Salad Author: Naïby Jacques Salads don’t have to be boring! Here’s a high-protein veggie salad that’s light, comforting and filling. Perfect all year-round. Prep Time: 5 min; Cook time: 25 min

  • ½ cup Pearl barley
  • ½ cup Beluga or Puy (French) lentils
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, scrubbed, skin on, cubed (1/2 inch thick)
  • 1 ½ cup broccoli, head cut into small florets (a small head)
  • 1 pack cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic, crushed (1 clove)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Place the sweet potato onto one half of a non-stick baking tray, and the cherry tomatoes onto the other half. Drizzle both with a little olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft in the middle when tested with a small sharp knife. Set aside.
  3. Place Pearl barley in a small saucepan along with 1½ cup water and cook for 15-20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and lightly cooked. You’ll know when it’s cooked when the texture is soft but still a little nutty with it still has a little bite to the barley.
  4. At the same time, cook the lentils in another saucepan with 1½ cup water according to your packet’s instructions.
  5. Rinse both the barley and lentils in cold water and drain thoroughly before adding both into a large mixing bowl.
  6. Drizzle olive oil and squeeze over the juice of 1 small lemon. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper and add a pinch of salt.
  7. Using one of the same saucepans used to cook the barley or lentils, cook the broccoli florets in a steamer on top of the saucepan. Alternatively, half fill another saucepan with cold water, bring to the boil over high heat then add the broccoli in a steamer. Cook over high heat for 2-3 minutes then drain and plunge into a bowl of iced water. This helps the broccoli to retain its bright green color when cooked and cooled. After 2 or 3 minutes of cooling in the iced water, drain broccoli again and add to barley mixture along with the roasted tomatoes and cubed sweet potato.
  8. In a small bowl whisk together the mustard, vinegar, cumin, garlic, and olive oil and pour over salad, tossing well to coat everything evenly.
  9. Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, this salad will keep up to 5-7 days.

Make this Now

Sometimes you can get bored with the same boring green salads that have the same boring ingredients.

But you can get very creative with your salads. They don’t have to be green only.

You can make colorful salads with other veggies. You can make somewhat crunchy salads with grains. You can make comforting salads with legumes.

And most of all, they can be very filling just like the one I showed you.

Now go ahead and mix things up a bit!


If you try this recipe, I want to know about it! Leave me a comment below or share it on Instagram. Tag @biting.into.life with the hashtag #bitingintolife