Pearl Barley Salad with Figs and Chicken

Quick and easy salad, perfect for meal prep

It’s meal prep time again! This salad is a quick and easy combination of lots of amazing super foods. For starters, pearl barley is a good source of potassium and fiber. Figs, dried blueberries, spinach, and pumpkin seeds are all rich sources of antioxidants and other nutrients which help reduce inflammation in the body.

This recipe makes two lunch servings of salad. It can also be doubled and served as a delicious side dish, without the chicken.

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Pearl Barley Salad with Figs and Chicken

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Mini food processor

Ingredients
  

For the Salad

  • 1/2 cup Pearl Barley
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 1/4 cup Dried Blueberries
  • 1/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 5-6 Calimyrna Figs quartered
  • 2 cups Spinach
  • 1 Chicken Breast cooked and diced

For the Dressing

  • 3 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp Coarse Ground Mustard
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

For the Salad

  • In a medium pot, place the pearl barley and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, on low, for 30 minutes. The barley should be tender and all the water absorbed. Allow to cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, combine the remaining salad ingredients. Add the cooled barley. Toss with the dressing to coat.
  • Divide the salad into meal prep containers and refrigerate until ready to eat.

For the Dressing

  • In a mini food processor, add the dressing ingredients and blend to combine.
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Sweet Chili Chicken Meal Prep

Sweet Chili Chicken Stir Fry is great for a meal prep lunch. It’s satisfying and delicious without being heavy.

Grain Options

I try to stick with protein-rich grains with lots of antioxidants in my meals. So I tend to avoid things like white or even brown rice. If that’s your preference with a dish like this, by all means, go for it. But I find there are better options that pack more nutritional value into my meals. Which is important to me when I’m consuming a small portion. Might as well make every calorie count, right? I also like to avoid gluten whenever possible because I find it can lead to inflammation for me. So here are some other options for you:

Gluten Free Brown Rice Noodles

This is a great, gluten free pasta option. I like the wider Pad Thai noodles but Maifun is a great option if you prefer a thinner cut. They’re a good source of fiber and they cook up in just five minutes.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a delicious super grain that is packed with fiber and protein. It’s a great substitute for rice and it’s really quick to prepare. Be sure to give your uncooked quinoa a rinse before cooking to eliminate any bitterness. My preferred brand of quinoa calls for a two to one ratio of liquid to quinoa. I add two cups of water or vegetable stock and one cup of quinoa to a small pot with a small pinch of salt. Bring it to a boil and simmer for fifteen minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. Let it stand about five minutes and then fluff with a fork before serving.

Forbidden Rice

Also aptly known as black rice for its hue, this stuff is also packed with protein, fiber and antioxidants. I really like the subtle nutty flavor while texturally, it gets soft like white rice. It is a little slower cooking than quinoa. My preferred brand takes thirty minutes. But it’s well worth it.

Sweet Thai Chili Sauce

I love the flavor of Sweet Thai Chili Sauce but all that extra sugar can be a little rough. So I came up with a quick swap that’s a little more anti-inflammatory friendly. Start with a sugar-free apricot jam. Use one made with Stevia. Stevia is a no calorie, plant-based sweetener that is anti-inflammatory friendly. Add a tablespoon of Thai chili paste to a measuring cup and add enough jam to make a cup. Set it aside.

Gluten Free Breading

My go-to coating when I need a breading is cornstarch. Be careful if you have celiac because cornstarch is often processed in plants that also process wheat. Cornstarch adds a light crispiness and helps thicken sauces.

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Recipe

To prepare this recipe, start by cutting your chicken into bite-sized pieces. Toss the chicken in two tablespoons of cornstarch, salt and pepper. Add a tablespoon of avocado oil to a saute pan and heat over medium-high heat, until it shimmers. Add the chicken and brown. It will cook through in the sauce.

Add the slices of bell pepper and matchstick carrots. Cook an additional two minutes. Then lower the heat to low and add the sauce mixture. Allow the chicken and vegetables to simmer in the sauce until the chicken is cooked through.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare your preferred grain option. In this case, I used rice noodles.

For meal prep, divide the noodles between two meal prep containers. Divide the chicken mixture between the containers. Store in the refrigerator until ready to reheat and enjoy.

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Sweet Chili Chicken

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp Avocado Oil
  • 1 tbsp Thai Chili Garlic Paste
  • 1 cup Apricot Jam sugar free
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Your Grain of Choice prepared according to package instructions
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper sliced
  • 1/2 cup Matchstick Carrots

Instructions
 

  • Add the chili sauce to the apricot jam. Stir to combine and set aside.
  • Toss the chicken pieces in the cornstarch and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Heat the avocado oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the chicken and brown on all sides.
  • Add the sliced bell pepper and matchstick carrots. Cook another two to three minutes.
  • Reduce the heat and add the apricot jam mixture. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Watch carefully to avoid burning.
  • Portion your prepared grain of choice, followed by the chicken mixture between two to three meal prep containers. Refrigerate until ready to heat and enjoy.
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Saffron Chicken

This is an easy dish with simple ingredients while still full of flavor. Perfect for a special dinner at home. I like to make this dish with black rice as a main course for Shabbat dinner.

Saffron

Saffron is known the world over as the most expensive spice in the world. I was first introduced to this exotic flavor when studying in Spain. It’s popularly know as the spice as the signature spice in Paella. It’s also common to Middle Eastern cuisine. Saffron is the stigma and stamen from Crocus flowers. These vibrant red “threads”, as they’re referred to, are harvested and dried before they are sold by weight. Good quality saffron can be quite expensive but I assure you, it is well worth it. Only a small pinch is needed to add a beautiful yellow tint and a slight floral flavor to your dish. And there is no substitution.

Black Rice

Also known as Forbidden Rice, black rice is so named for it’s black color. But don’t let the color turn you off. When cooked, it has a soft texture, similar to its white counterpart but with a complex, slightly nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with Saffron Chicken. Black rice is naturally gluten free and loaded with antioxidants. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s higher in protein than brown or white rice and low in carbohydrates. I could go on and on about all the wonderful nutritional benefits of this stuff but what I like about it most is that it’s delicious.

When preparing black rice, keep in mind the yield of cooked rice from uncooked rice is 3:1. So for one cup of uncooked rice, you’ll get three cups cooked.

To prepare black rice on the stove top, combine 1 ¾ cup water, 1 cup of rice, and a pinch of salt (optional) in a small pot. Bring this to a boil over high heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove it from the heat and allow it to stand, covered, for about five minutes. Then fluff and serve.

It’s the perfect accompaniment with Saffron Chicken or any other dish where you would normally use white or brown rice.

Art of Tea Organics

Saffron Chicken

This is a very simple dish with just a few simple ingredients. Those are really my favorite things to make. I like combining just a few ingredients so each one really gets to shine. This recipe makes 2 to 4 servings and can easily be increased.

Before starting to prepare this dish, steep the saffron in the vegetable stock. Place three quarters of a cup of vegetable stock in a microwave safe cup and add a pinch of saffron. Microwave for a minute to heat the stock and allow the Saffron to start to dissolve. Set this aside while you start preparing the chicken.

Start with four bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Use a paper towel to dry the skin. This is important because it will help the skin to brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Place a saute pan over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of avocado oil. Heat the oil until it shimmers but don’t let it smoke. Add the chicken, skin side down and allow to brown. Don’t move the chicken pieces. Check them after about five minutes and turn over to brown on the other side. Remove them from the pan to a plate and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions. Saute until they start to caramelize. Then add the garlic. Garlic can burn quickly so it’s best to add it toward the end of the cooking time. Let the garlic start to brown, about one to two minutes. Then add the chicken pieces and any juices that have accumulated on the plate back to the pan. Add the vegetable stock along with the juice of half a lemon. Top the chicken pieces with slices of lemon. Reduce the heat so the stock is simmering and cover the pan. Allow the chicken to cook through, about 35 minutes.

To garnish, add a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley and serve. I recommend serving this with black rice but you could also substitute quinoa. Or prepare my Israeli couscous salad. Get the link to this recipe below. If serving for Shabbat dinner, be sure there is plenty of challah on the table because your guests will want to soak up every last bit of the sauce. Enjoy!

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Saffron Chicken

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Main Course

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 lbs Chicken Thighs bone-in, skin-on
  • 1 small Yellow Onion diced
  • 1 clove Garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp Avocado Oil
  • 1 pinch Saffron
  • 3/4 cup Vegetable Stock
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Uncooked Black Rice prepared according to package instructions

Instructions
 

  • Place the vegetable stock and the pinch of saffron in a microwave safe measuring cup and microwave about 45 seconds to heat the stock and disolve the saffron.
  • Pat the skin of the chicken dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
  • In a large pan, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat, until the oil shimmers. Add the chicken pieces, skin side down and allow to brown, six to seven minutes. Turn and allow to brown about five minutes. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate. Set aside.
  • Reduce the heat under the pan to medium. Add the onions and saute until starting to brown, about five to seven minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional one to two minutes, until the garlic become fragrant.
  • Return the chicken pieces to the pan. Add the vegetable stock and juice from half the lemon. Slice the remaining half of the lemon and top the chicken pieces with slices.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and allow the chicken to cook through, about 35 minutes.
  • Serve the chicken with a side of black rice.
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Chicken Shawarma Salad

A flavorful salad, perfect for meal prep

Shawarma is a delicious, spiced, Middle Eastern classic. And one that I absolutely love! This version includes a spice mixture of cardamon, cumin, and coriander, giving the chicken a wonderfully earth, smoky, and complex flavor. Then it’s diced over refreshing greens, cucumbers, and bell peppers.

Finally, for the dressing, I use a classic Israeli hummus. Or in this case, I use a white bean hummus. You’ll have to check out the recipe to learn why.

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Chicken Shawarma Salad

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 3 lunches

Ingredients
  

For the Chicken

  • 1 1/2 lbs Chicken Thighs
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tbsp Ground Cardamon
  • 1 tbsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp Avocado Oil

For the Salads

  • 4 cups Mixed Greens
  • 1 Bell Pepper sliced
  • 1/2 cup Matchstick Carrots
  • 1 small Cucumber sliced

Instructions
 

For the Chicken

  • Combine the spices and coat the chicken pieces generously.
  • In a pan, heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken on each side until deep brown.
  • Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and allow the chicken to cook through. About 30 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and allow to cool slightly.

For the Salads

  • In your preferred meal prep containers, divide the mixed greens, bell pepper, and cucumbers.
  • Remove the chicken from the bone (if using bone-in), dice and divide over the salads.
  • Refrigerate the salads until ready to eat. Add white bean hummus before enjoying.
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Pair it With

White Bean Hummus


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Apricot Jalapeno Glazed Chicken Thighs

A little sweet, a little heat, and perfect for weeknight dinner

This is a perfect recipe for an easy weeknight meal. I chose to oven roast my chicken thighs but this could easily be adapted for the grill.

When preparing your chicken thighs for the oven, be sure to pat the skin dry before seasoning, to ensure it crisps. I allow the chicken to cook for about 20 minutes before I start adding the glaze. Don’t glaze the chicken from the start because the sugar in the glaze will burn easily.

I paired the chicken with a Strawberry Avocado Pasta salad. Get the link to that recipe below.

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Apricot Jalapeno Glazed Chicken Thighs

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Blender

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 lbs Chicken Thighs
  • 1/2 cup Apricot Jam
  • 1 small Jalapeno de-veined and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Coarse Ground Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Pat the skin of the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel. Place the chicken thighs on a baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.
  • In a blender, add the apricot jam, jalapeno, mustard, and vinegar. Blend until smooth.
  • Bake the chicken thighs approximately 20 minutes. Baste with a light coat of the glaze and continue baking an additional 5 minutes. Repeat three more times, allowing 5 minutes between each addition of the glaze.
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Pair it with…

Strawberry Avocado Pasta Salad


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Apple Chicken Quinoa Salad

A perfect salad for meal prep or a light dinner

Sunday is meal prep day in my house. I spent a few hours in the kitchen to get all of my lunches and any slow prep items ready for the week ahead. It’s a great time safer and ensures I have healthy, nutritious meals at the ready all week long.

Quinoa is one of my ‘go to’ grains for any meal. Its nutty flavor adds another layer to any meal. Plus it’s gluten free and a good source of all nine essential amino acids.

Quinoa can be a little bitter so it’s a good idea to place it in a fine mesh sieve and give it a quick rinse before cooking. I also recommend replacing water with chicken or vegetable stock. Opt for salt free, if it’s available. This allows you to control the salt content of the dish.

Apples can be a little tricky for a meal prep dish that is going to sit in the refrigerator for a few days, because they tend to brown once cut. I find the best way to prevent this is to toss your cut apple pieces in a tablespoon of lemon juice. The acid prevents browning.

I used leftover chicken when I make this salad. You could also use a rotisserie chicken or prepare a chicken breast or two by whatever method you prefer. Or leave it out for a great vegetarian option.

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Apple Chicken Quinoa Salad

with Pomegranate Molasses Dressing
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 2
Calories 579 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup Quinoa rinsed
  • 1 cup Vegetable or Chicken Stock
  • 1/3 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/3 cup Dried Blueberries
  • 3 cups Spinach
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 cups Cooked Diced Chicken (omit for a vegetarian salad)

For the Dressing

  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Pomegranate Molasses
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a small pot, combine the quinoa and chicken or vegetable stock, or water. Cook according to package instructions.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the spinach, pumpkin seeds, dried blueberries, and chicken (if using).
  • In a separate bowl, gently toss the cut apples in the tablespoon of lemon juice. Allow them to soak a few minutes. Drain any excess lemon juice before adding them to the spinach.
  • When it has finished cooking, remove the quinoa from the pot and allow it to cool to room temperature. Pop it in the refrigerator if you're in a hurry. Once it has cooled, add it to the spinach mixture. Toss to combine.
  • To make the dressing, combine the ingredients in a small food processor or a blender. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
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