barley chickpea salad with purple cabbage, spinach + an almond sesame miso dressing

I've got a salad for you today ... because I just got finished with two weeks of marathon eating, and this week all I want to eat are gigantic salads for every meal. I cannot think of or look at pictures of christmas cookies right now, I am still so full from the past few weeks. 

And .... I know in the weeks to come there are going to be so many sweets and bacon wrapped whatevers. I want to psych myself up for all the upcoming indulgence, and to do that I will be eating salads and super healthy stuff on the in-between days. 

Don't worry, you and I can get back to talking about more serious holiday eats and treats next week.


So let's talk about this salad. Sometimes I find myself using quinoa and kale for everything, but I am trying to make a better effort to change things up once in a while. You can certainly make this salad with quinoa and kale instead of barley and spinach, but I decided to give barley and spinach the spotlight here, because other grains and dark leafy greens deserve our love too. 

Since this this salad is more grain-heavy, it feels more like a meal. Something you can eat for dinner, or a hearty lunch. It's filling but it won't put you over the edge, and it's loaded with healthy goodness. It would also make a great side dish, or brunch salad, or you can just snack on all by yourself all week long (that's what I've been doing).

My favorite part about this salad is the dressing. This dressing is killer. Almonds, sesame oil, and miso ... some of my favorites, all blended together. You can easily use this over so many things .... other salad combinations, roasted vegetables, noodle dishes. I just want to dive in and take a bath in this dressing, it's so darn good. 



barley + chickpea salad with spinach, purple cabbage + an almond sesame miso dressing

2-4 people


3 cups of cooked barley (or any grain of your choice)
16 oz can of organic chickpeas, drained
¼ cup of onion, minced
1 cup of spinach, packed, finely chopped
1 cup of purple cabbage leaves, inner stems removed and finely chopped
a handful of chopped parsley (optional) 

for the almond sesame miso dressing:
1/3 cup of almonds, lightly toasted
2 tablespoons of sweet white miso
3 tablespoons of brown rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons of minced onion
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
a pinch of cayenne pepper
2-4 tablespoons of water + 1/4 cup of water


  • While your barley is cooking, prepare all of the other veggies for the salad. Make sure you chop everything super fine, like a chopped salad.
  • Then, prepare your dressing. Place the toasted almonds into a blender and blend until they are a fine consistency. Then add in the rest of the ingredients, and 2 tablespoons of water. Blend for a couple of minute until everything is super smooth. You might need to add another couple of tablespoons of water to thin it out. You want it to be thick, but thin enough to coat everything.
  • Place ½ the dressing into a small separate bowl, and spoon the other half over the cooked barley. Stir to coat evenly, and then add in the chickpeas, onion, spinach, purple cabbage, and parsley and stir again to combine everything.
  • Thin out the other ½ of the dressing with about ¼ cup of water and then drizzle that over the top. You can serve immediately or you can store in the fridge in an air-tight contain and eat over a few days.