May is national salad month! Getting the recommended seven to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day can be simple when you include salads. Eating a salad daily packed with antioxidants, fibre, vitamins, minerals and smart carbohydrates can have a positive impact on your digestive, heart and immune health.

There are delicious and easy ways to include these nutrient-dense, low-calorie meals every day. For the month of May, I challenge you to eat a healthy salad with a nutritious dressing at least five times per week. This calls for more barley salads on your menu at home, at work and school!

Barley Salad with Strawberries, Jicama and Lime-Mint Dressing

One of my favourite GoBarley recipes! It’s simple to make as a delicious starter for supper and then it is a perfect leftover for lunch the next day at the office or school. Jicama is a crispy, sweet tuber that resembles a turnip. It’s a wonderful complement to the juicy strawberries and tender, chewy barley. The tangy lime-and-mint dressing that adds a refreshing zing to this nutritious, colourful salad.

Jane’s Meal Planning Tip
For the best flavour, make the dressing ahead and allow it to mellow in the fridge a couple of hours before mixing with salad ingredients. The full recipe can be made the day of and refrigerated up to 24 hours.

Barley Tico Salad

This Central American inspired salad uses barley instead of the usual white rice. It has a few other tasty favourites including avocado, peppers and pineapple tidbits. The flavours in the dressing make the tico salad a brilliant garnish for fish tacos. And it’s an easy to pack salad for lunch too. Remember to refrigerate the salad for at least 1 hour before serving.

Jane’s Meal Planning Tip
Make sure you plan time (about 30 minutes) to cook the barley ahead. Cook extra barley, package it in 1 cup (250 mL) containers and freeze to have on hand to add to other GoBarley recipes.

Barley, Pomegranate, Date, Feta and Pistachio Salad

I’ve always baked with dates; however, recently I’ve been experimenting with them in different recipes. They add a smoky-sweet flavour to this salad. Along with the barley, pomegranate seeds, feta cheese, pistachios and cilantro, there are a medley of textures and flavours that make this Middle Eastern inspired salad anything but boring. The dressing adds a sweet-savoury essence. This salad is a perfect side for chicken or lamb dishes. And take it for lunch when you’re craving a vegetarian option.

Jane’s Meal Planning Tip
Cover and refrigerate the complete salad for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours before serving.

Enjoy these scrumptious salad combinations with barley, vegetables and fruits all year round. And let me know how you do with the May challenge of eating a healthy salad at least five times per week!