Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Chicken, Barley & Zucchini Salad with Orange and Goji

Bursting with fibre-rich barley, this healthy Chicken, Barley & Zucchini Salad with Orange, Mint and Goji Berries helps slow down the absorption of sugar keeping energy levels up. Adapted from 'Supergrains' by Chrissy Freer, the cookbook features twelve different grains including quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, brown rice, chia, millet, oats, spelt, kamut, barley, farro and freekeh and explores the health benefits of these nutrient-packed superfoods. Supergrains provides the nutritional statistics for each grain, and invaluable tips on what they're best used for and how to cook them. Six of the grains are gluten-free and many of them are a complete source of protein in themselves, which means these fresh and flavourful recipes are a great choice for restricted gluten- or wheat-free diets as well as vegetarians and vegans.

Chrisy Freer's 'Supergrains' cookbook features recipes using twelve different grains, 
including quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, brown rice, chia, millet, oats, spelt, 
kamut, barley, farro and freekeh

Known as another of the great superfoods, bright red goji berries have become increasingly popular among the health food crowd because they're packed with antioxidants. The dried berries, which taste similar to dried cranberries, come from the Himalayas and China, where they've been eaten for centuries and used in Chinese medicine to boost life-force or "chi" energy. 

Goji berries

Combined with shredded chicken, ribbons of fresh zucchini and asparagus, green onions, orange segments, pine nuts, raisins, fragrant mint and chopped chives, all dressed in a light vinaigrette, this salad is a delicious and heart-smart way to enjoy many of the fresh veggies that are in the market these days and begin to explore the wonderful world of sensational supergrains.

Chicken, Barley & Zucchini Salad with Orange, Mint and Goji Berries
Serves 4

1 cup pearl barley, briefly rinsed
1 lb skinless chicken breast fillets
2 large green zucchini, trimmed
5 thick spears asparagus
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup mint leaves
2 tbsp snipped chives
1 cup orange segments
1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
2 tbsp raisins or currants
1 tbsp goji berries
Maldon sea salt and black pepper

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp raspberry vinegar
2 tbsp apple sauce

Cook barley in boiling water for 30 minutes. Refresh under cold running water, then drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Meanwhile, wrap the chicken breasts in aluminum foil and bake in a 425°F oven for 25-30 minutes until cooked though. Set aside to cool, then shred. 

Using a vegetable peeler, slice the zucchini and asparagus into thin ribbons. Add the zucchini, asparagus, chicken, green onions, orange segments, goji berries, mint, chives, pine nuts and currants to the barley and stir to combine.

To make the dressing, place all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk. Add to the salad and gently toss to combine. Season with Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.