Bean salad with barley and roasted veg: A healthy and hearty work lunch you can make in a batch for the week

Allison Day’s flavourful and filling recipe belongs in your meal-prep rotation.

Allison Day’s flavourful and filling recipe belongs in your meal-prep rotation

(Photography by Allison Day)

If we were writing up a wishlist for the ultimate work lunch, this bean, barley and roasted vegetable salad from Allison Day’s new cookbook Modern Lunch would satisfy all of our stipulations. Easy to assemble and to pack, it’s the ideal mix of hearty and healthy we crave halfway through the day. The dish also keeps in the fridge, so whip up a batch (or two, if you’re cooking for more than one person) on Sunday and eat stress-free until it’s time to go grocery shopping again.

Mustard Seed Roasted Vegetable, Barley, and Bean Salad

By Allison Day

A substantial, complete meal salad that’s as simple to plate as it is to pack: just scoop and dive in. Or assemble it into a layered jar meal*. Perk up leftovers with an extra drizzle of balsamic or squeeze of lemon.


Mustard Seed Roasted Vegetables:

  • ½ butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, sliced lengthwise into small wedges
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp salt

Barley, Beans and Dressing:

  • ½ cup uncooked pearl barley
  • One 19 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups finely shredded kale or Swiss chard
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp gluten-free tamari or soy sauce


For the roasted vegetables, preheat the oven to 400°F. Add the squash, peppers, onion, olive oil, mustard seeds, and salt to a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown. Transfer to a large bowl.

For the barley, beans, and dressing, in a medium saucepan, cover the barley with 3 inches of water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, until tender. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.

To a large bowl, add the barley, roasted vegetables, beans, kale or chard, vinegar, olive oil, and tamari or soy sauce. Toss well to combine. Taste and season with additional salt, if desired.

If you are eating immediately, divide the salad between bowls or plates and serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. If you are taking this to go, pack a serving of salad in a container. Seal and refrigerate it until you are ready to take it with you. Store your salad in the work refrigerator or with a cooler pack in your lunch bag until lunchtime.

Can be made up to 4 days in advance.

*Restyle: Make it a jar meal

While the tossed salad can be added quickly to jars, you may want to flex your artistic muscle and turn this recipe into a layered lunch. To the bottom of large glass jar, add 2 teaspoons each of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and tamari or soy sauce, followed by ½ cup of beans, 1 cup of roasted vegetables ½ cup of kale or chard, and ⅓ cup of cooked barley. Seal and refrigerate it until you are ready to take it with you. When you arrive at work, transfer it to the refrigerator or keep it chilled with a cooler pack. When you’re ready for lunch, shake and eat in the jar, or transfer to a bowl to toss and eat.

Yield: Makes 4 servings

Excerpted from Modern Lunch: +100 Recipes for Assembling the New Midday Meal by Allison Day. Copyright © 2019 Allison Day. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.


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