Vegetable barley salad with a lemon dill dressing

It’s funny how easily we can forget how little things matter.  How small choices, that can seem insignificant at the time, add up to such big change.

As of yesterday, JonPaul and I completed a 21 day cleanse.  I haven’t felt this great in years.  Honestly, years.  It’s not so much the physical change that I notice, but more importantly a greater sense of peace and contentment that is so refreshing.

I don’t want this feeling to fade.  So this week I’ve taken time to reflect on how and why the past few weeks have made such a dramatic shift. It’s dawning on me that this new feeling isn’t the result of a new diet, but rather the culmination of lots of little changes.  A lot of small choices that snowballed into something bigger.

Going to be earlier, had me rising more refreshed and therefore more prepared and patient with my kids in the morning.

Taking deep breaths before responding to my children’s needs, allowed me to approach them with a softer and gentler tongue, which in turn I saw them use with each other and made my heart swell.

Starting my mornings off with warm lemon water (instead of caffeine) kept my energy level balanced throughout the day, which kept me focused and productive in the afternoon creating a sense of accomplishment and pride.

Reading before bed instead of watching TV got my mind working and flowing with ideas, which kept me excited and inspired about the possibilities to come.

Being more patient and forgiving with my husband (in both the little and big moments) helped him to be the same in return, which created a sense of safety, security and love

I don’t know how much of this will stay with me as we move into a new month.  But for now it has felt great to be more mindful of how each choice and action I’ve made has a ripple effect and how it can swing both ways (both good and sometimes not so good).  We have the power to make our lives more joyful and less stressful, and it isn’t with big drastic changes but rather with the little things we do every day, over and over again.

One of those ways is by being more mindful with our food choices.  Choosing fresh, healthy, whole foods when we can.  To do this, it’s important that we have a back pocket full of healthy (and easy) recipes. Which is why I’m so excited to share this easy and delicious barley salad.

This recipe is courtesy of my friend, Meaghan over at Beauty From Burnt Toast.  I met Meaghan a few weeks ago through the blogging community, and if you don’t follow along with her already you need to.  She’s the momma of three doing her best to live a life full of beauty and joy even in the messiest of moments (sound familiar…exactly why I adore her).  She shares her faith, her stories of motherhood, and of course her beautiful recipes.  This being one of my personal favorites…

If you’ve been following along with me for a while you know that I am a sucker for meals in a bowl.  I mean how could you not be?  All of your favorite ingredients mixed together and topped with a silky dressing.

This barely salad is hearty, satisfying and can be customized any way you like.   Meaghan has chosen some of her favorite vegetables, but feel free to play around with it.  Or add a little piece of grilled salmon or chicken on top to make a complete meal.  The options are endless.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful dish….and don’t forget to go check out Meaghan over at Beauty From Burnt Toast.  I promise you won’t regret it.  She’s as sweet as they come.

Vegetable barley salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
  • For the salad:
  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 bell peppers (any color--I chose red and orange), chopped into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 English Cucumber, quartered lengthwise and chopped into ½ inch slices
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado
  • optional:
  • 1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • For the dressing:
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt (I used kosher)
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 teaspoon honey (or maple syrup)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  1. To cook the barley, bring 2½ cups of water and ½ teaspoon salt to a boil over high heat. Add rinsed barley and cook for 45 minutes over low heat until grains are tender. Drain and cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, combine remaining salad ingredients minus the avocado in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a separate bowl, being sure to taste and adjust accordingly.
  4. Once barley is cooled slightly, add to the bowl of vegetables and add dressing, tossing to coat.
  5. Top with sliced avocado and serve.
  6. Will last up to 3 days in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. Be sure to taste prior to eating and add more dressing as necessary.

Meaghan is the creator of BeautyfromBurntToast, a place where the life, food and faith mingle with the idea that you can find beauty in even the messiest parts of life if you look hard enough. In her spare time she is a wife, mother of 3 (plus one giant dog) and an avid fan of lazy days spent on the couch with a good book, warm blanket and family all around. You can find Meaghan at  Or follow along with her on Instagram or Facebook.


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