This healthy grain salad is the perfect combination of fall flavors, boasting bright colors and bold flavors from the combination of barley, roasted squash and beets with creamy goat cheese crumbles. Add it to your Thanksgiving dinner for a lightened up, nutritious side dish!
This post is sponsored by Whole Foods. All opinions are my own. Thank you, Whole Foods, for teaming up with me for this recipe!
So, where is the fall going you guys? Seems like, I turned my head and it was time to run my first marathon. I turn my head again and it’s ALMOST THANKSGIVING. That means I need to start thinking about Christmas presents soon.
I’m pretty much a sucker for the fall, though. The weather in Charlotte is much milder than the New England falls I’m used to. However, the foliage can’t compare. The crisp air, though, has me drooling over all the fall produce, which happen to be some of my favorites. We’re talking squash (complex carbs, runners’ dreams), beets (I’m pretty much obsessed with them), juicy pears, kale and crisp apples. I could probably subside on just those produce ingredients alone for the next few months and be totally satisfied.
In addition, you know what else is great about my current living location? I’m less than two miles from Whole Foods. Well, I guess it’s also a little dangerous because I go there a lot. Which means, when I need a kombooch, Americano or sweet treat, I’m there.
Have you planned your menu for Thanksgiving yet?
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Not just for the food, but moreso the whole thankful part. Thanksgiving is a holiday I NEVER miss with my family. We have always made sure to be together for this one. Growing up, we would all gather at my grandparents’ house with all nine cousins, and we would hold hands in a circle. Everyone would go around and say what they’re thankful for. We still do it to this day, and it seems that each year, I get a little more grateful for life’s bigger picture.
When we take the time to appreciate this thing called life, we’ve got a lot of good things going for us. We can eat what we want, be who we want, be around people who make us laugh, and put hard work into things that are meaningful to us. Most importantly, we can love and be loved.
While in Boston last month, I realized how whole grains are currently thriving. Though I have always been a quinoa girl myself, I am branching out to things like freekah, sorghum and millet. In addition to fiber and protein, these guys are also chock full of B vitamins, iron and other micronutrients. Furthermore, whole grains can take on whatever flavor you choose. I love barley because it’s light and fluffy and provides a great bed for flavor!
AND THIS DRESSING. Let’s just say the salad would not be the same without the dressing. It’s the perfect delicate balance of sweetness and tartness, and light enough to not take away from the salad’s flavors.
- 1 ½ lbs butternut squash, cubed (about 4 cups)
- 3 medium beets, peeled and diced
- 4 cups barley, cooked
- 2 cups arugula
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
- ¼ tsp thyme
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- For the dressing:
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Wash and cut squash and beets and season with thyme, salt and pepper. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and bake for 35-40 minutes
- While the butternut squash and beets are baking, cook your barley according to package directions.
- While the barley is cooking, mix the ingredients for your dressing in a covered mason jar and shake to combine.
- Mix the arugula and barley for your salad base, and top with baked butternut squash and beets. Add goat cheese crumbles, dressing and mix well. Enjoy!
While creating decadent meals aren’t really my specialty, I’m pretty confident in rocking out with colorful, nutritious sides. Therefore, I’m in charge of bringing the healthy dish.
Also, I know there will be copious amounts of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, casserole, ice cream and pumpkin pie. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a little fat and sugar!
Do you have any family Thanksgiving traditions? Has anything changed as you’ve gotten older?