Warm Barley & Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

I went to a karma yoga class this afternoon. Typically in yoga we are supposed to clear our minds and gently push away the thoughts that come into our heads. This is great since it helps us find meditation in our movements and fully relax our bodies into postures... but this takes practice. Perhaps it will take me years and years of practice as I often find myself thinking different thoughts while I practice.  Sometimes I am able to focus completely about breathing into a posture, but quite often I think about things I want to be doing. Today was one of those days where I was thinking about food instead of my practice. My brain was scanning my pantry and gave me an appetite for a grain salad with roasted butternut squash. I left yoga feeling a little more invigorated and had dinner planned. Although I didn't gently push away thoughts, I still consider this to have been quite the productive hour. 


1 butternut squash, red onion & apple 

2 cups of barley (uncooked) 

2 tablespoons of oil 

1/2 cup of walnuts 

salt, pepper and thyme 

For the Salad Dressing 

2 tablespoons of olive oil & apple cider vinegar 

1 1/2 teaspoons of dijon mustard & maple syrup 

1 clove of garlic

salt & pepper 


First you will want to roast the vegetables. Start by pre-heating your oven to 400°F, ensuring there is a rack placed in the middle of the oven. Now prepare the squash and red onion by first removing the skin, followed by dicing into medium sized cubes and slices, respectively. Place the vegetables on a baking sheet, pour 2 Tbsp of oil, and a pinch or two of salt, pepper, thyme, tossing to evenly coat the vegetables. Place the tray in the middle of the oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the vegetables are evenly roasted. 

While the vegetables are roasting, you can prep the other components of your salad. I would start with the barley - I boiled two cups of quick cook barley in 2 1/2 cups of water (you do not have to cook the barley in broth as you will be tossing the cooked barley in salad dressing which gives it plenty of flavour!). Next, mix together your dressing. Crush and finely mince the clove of garlic, then combine all other salad dressing ingredients in a small mason jar (125mL). Shake. Taste test. Add more salt and pepper if you feel it is required for your taste buds!

At this point dice the apple (I used a macintosh, but any apple would work) into small cubes and roughly chop the walnuts (I left mine raw - but toasted would bring another element of flavour to the salad). 

Once the veggies are roasted and the barley is cooked, combine all the salad components (barley, roasted veggies, salad dressing, apple and walnuts) in a medium bowl and toss.